I've always been a wannabe intrepid explorer, someone who wanted to get out there and get lost for a bit while someplace new. Even more than that, I've always been fascinated with space and the planet Mars (hence some of my love of games like Mass Effect), but it's hard to find a game where exploration is as much a key objective as it is to keep some enemy at bay. Lacuna Passage, from Random Seed Games, delves into the topics of space, survival, and my favorite planet, Mars.
Set on the barren planet, Lacuna Passage follows you as attempt to survive the harsh conditions. Much like recent movie (and novel) The Martian, it pits you against the elements and dangers of surviving on the desolate, rocky world.
The game is currently in early access on Steam and only features the sandbox survival mode, but there are plans to include a story mode in the future eventually. This survival mode does serve as a literal crash course on survival; upon awakening in your pod, you're forced to seek out the nearest habitation unit and repair the necessary pieces to generate water, electricity, breathable air, etc. Once repaired, the sandbox mode literally lets you do whatever you'd like afterward. While that's a bit limited currently to mostly exploring and hunting down the other available hab units or resources, the game shines in that it still feels like a fun experience if exploration is your go-to for experiences. I know I enjoyed being able to walk around the surface of Mars to my content and limit of oxygen. It was a joy for me to look out across the horizon, and since the game's map is 25 square miles, there's a LOT to see.
And seeing is truly worth the time. The game, as a first person survival Mars simulation experience, the game's landscape is quite a sight. Granted, I'll admit looking at some of the consoles, and inside the habitat (hab), it can be a bit dull, but the scenery at least makes it worth it. The downside is when I wasn't roaming around or attempting to read through the in-game informational iPad-type device. However, I didn't have much else to focus on. I'm not saying it's a bad thing necessarily, but this can potentially be a turnoff for some. The hab at least offers some interesting things to do, like item crafting or the noted information to read, but there isn't a ton to do currently. And while I do like exploring, getting to only listen to my wheezing breath after trying to make it back inside a hab can leave a bit desired for some.
That being said, this is an indie game with a smaller team working on it. I understand the limitations and challenges. Lacuna Passage, however, has a definite spark here with this game and it's something I'm incredibly hopeful to see the final product when it eventually releases. I'm sure with some rover vehicles, a larger, fleshed out sandbox mode, and an engaging story mode, this game will shine.
Note: The Lacuna Passage review is based on a digital PC copy of the game, provided by the publisher.