You have crash-landed on an abandoned planet. You must control your three survivors (three to start with that is) as you manage resources such as food, heat, and electro waste to keep your station running and everyone alive.
Each time you restart the game, your survivors have different strengths in the three skills (creating food, chopping wood, and harvesting electro waste) so you always need to adapt your strategy to who is good at what. Survivors can also train their skills, improving and learning. The main gameplay is micromanaging your survivors, sending them out for the resources you need (or keeping them in the bunker to create food) but also ensuring they eat and sleep when needed. It is also a freezing planet outside, so you need to keep an eye out on the weather and ensure no one is caught out in too horrible a storm. The survivors have less survival instincts than Sims, and they will work themselves to death if you’re not careful. In fact, keeping the survivors alive is the core mechanic of the game. You are constantly jumping around, checking in on everyone.
The game is challenging to start with and ramps up difficulty as resources are slowly farther and farther away and the weather grows steadily worse. Equipment around the base will also frequently break, which requires more resources to fix. This means it’s important to keep training your people to be better and better at their skills and vital to keep a close eye on everyone.
It is one of those games where you are not told what to do. You are taught only the very basics and then have to figure things out for yourself. This blends a nice sense of exploration into a game about being stranded on an unknown planet.
SYMMETRY is hard, even on the normal difficulty setting you will lose and lose often. Some people may find this frustrating, but it also gives you a great sense of accomplishment as you make a little more progress each time. You learn from your past mistakes and adapt. The survival aspect of the game is very real and very difficult. You are on a deadly planet and you almost certainly won’t make it. While I was often frustrated at not getting to follow the story further on certain rounds because I died too quickly, it also ensured that I kept coming back to try one more time.
Controlling the game is fairly smooth. You can pause gameplay when needed and speed up as desired. One mechanic that is frustrating however is that characters freeze when you mouse over them. This can be annoying and I wished my people would continue what they were doing right up until the moment I gave them a new order, rather than freeze in place.
Aesthetically, the game looks slick and elegant. The artwork looks excellent and fits the game perfectly. It feels like a curious mix of modern and retro. In addition, while the game doesn’t market itself as a horror game, there is a great, creepy atmosphere to it and some genuinely chilling moments, as items around the base seem to flicker in and out, and the signal for a crew member dying is downright frightening.
The difficulty alone ensures you’ll be replaying the game plenty, as long as you don’t allow yourself to be discouraged too early! And you will make progress in the game overtime. If you enjoyed indie game Sheltered, SYMMETRY has much the same feel. If you like to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing, through trial and error, you should enjoy it as well. It’s a tough challenge but certainly a satisfying one.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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