Artificial Intelligence (AI) has always been a popular topic of science fiction games, films and tv shows, nowadays AI and automated robots are increasingly talked about in many industries as people become more dependent on more sophisticated pieces of software, the most recent debate being on driver-less cars and whether the car should prioritize the safety of the driver or of others. The importance of interaction between people and AI/robots is becoming apparent and Alone With You provides an interesting view on what could happen.
You play a lone survivor living in a small colony building on a different planet, huge seismic activity has destroyed many buildings (in an event called The Rift) and caused the death of everyone else. However, the AI core in your building has told you the planet is becoming less habitable and you must find a way to escape back to Earth or you will die, you do this with the help of holograms of 4 experts. They have knowledge in key areas, food, resource management, communications etc and you can interact with them, they act like their human counterparts would but have no memory of what happened to them during the Rift. Even though this story isn’t the most creative it is certainly interesting as you get to interact with 4 very different representations of people, for example, the communications expert is incredibly shy and the food preservation expert is friendly but prefers the company of plants. In addition, the holograms have worries and crises of their own such the fact that they feel real but logically know they are not.
Three weeks is the time limit you are given in the game, and during the days you pick a location and travel there to explore and collect things to complete a mission for example, you go to the communication tower and scan parts so the AI will be able to reconstruct a communication system for your escape ship. Each location is associated with an AI hologram and that night you get to chat with them about your mission which can improve your relationship with them. However, you eventually must visit every place and talk to every hologram so the choice can feel rather redundant, the dialogue choices that you can pick can also feel redundant because sometimes you must pick all 3 options during the conversation anyway. It becomes a bit of a nuisance instead of feeling like you have control over what topics are spoken about. The daily missions consist of walking around an area, scanning bits and pieces for the AI core, completing some very basic puzzles such as finding a knife to pry a door open so you may reach a new room and then when you have scanned everything you return to the ship. This simplistic game-play is fun at first but quickly gets old and isn’t very interesting. However, it makes sense to have very basic game-play as the game is more focused on the relationships the player has with the AI core and the 4 holograms.
The controls are also simplistic, W, A, S, D to move and space bar (or other button prompts such as numbers for dialogue options) to interact with things, you can examine most of the environments you find yourself in but not everything provides any extra information. The only issue I had with the controls is that when you pick which mission location you wish to visit each day, you must use the arrow keys instead of WASD and you are not told so I personally was confused for a couple of minutes, it feels unnecessary and there could have been a clear message to inform the player but you get used to these controls fairly quickly and will feel very natural to most people who have played games before.
The art style is pixelated, so cannot compete with big title games but makes this game stand out as quirky, the colour palette is mainly blues, greys, pinks and light purples, this means the game is easy to look at has a warm feeling to it. The music of the game is techno and electronic, seemingly influenced by 80s music, the same can be said for the visual design of the game and the environmental sound effects such as doors opening. It looks and feels like a typical science fiction adventure which is both charming and nostalgia inducing.
Fans of visual novels, story heavy games or just people interested in self-aware AI will like this game, it doesn’t shock you with amazing game-play but the story is short (great for busy people), interesting and it makes you think about the relationships people will form with AI and robots in the future. There are also multiple endings to the game which encourages replay ability however, I personally wouldn’t as the gameplay isn’t good enough to make me want to play it all over again. This game could have improved upon its core game-play and made player choice feel like they matter more but the concept and story of the game as a whole is very interesting and relevant to the society we live in.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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