Developed and Published by 3rd Eye Studios, Downward Spiral: Horus Station is a sci-fi adventure, which thrust the players into a space station devoid of any signs of life, following malfunctioning military robots, which have turned on the other humans. However, you may find yourself quickly becoming frustrated in the final frontier, as whist the concept of Hours Station is solid, the plot is a little overdone, with several other games and films also using a similar idea, in a much smarter and more engaging way.
Unlike a lot of Sci-Fi content, Horus Station isn’t action packed, nor is it fast paced, and the story is told in such a subtle way that it you have to pay close attention at every given moment, because there are no cut-scenes or dialogue. If I were to offer any advice it would be to take your time when travelling around the station, as that way you’ll be able to fully absorb the entire story, rush and you’ll probably miss all of it.
A large part of the game is spent just floating about whilst attempting to get from point A to point B. I do wish that 3rd Eye spent less time focusing on the zero-gravity concept and more time on the narrative and world building. I would have found the game a lot more compelling if the character had an actual story or even a name. There really isn’t anything to support the game’s narrative, it has an overdone storyline, with an archetypal antagonist and a protagonist with literally no character whatsoever.
Another one of the game’s disadvantages are the controls, which are so infuriatingly clunky and difficult to master. You begin your journey with no tools to assist you, and must pull yourself across the station by using handrails or risk floating away in zero-gravity. Eventually you will encounter a grappling hook, which will allow you to pull yourself across the station, in a much faster manner. I cannot stress the importance of getting this tool in your inventory, as it will be practically impossible to manoeuvre without it. Additionally, when aiming weapons at the various robots, the lasers rarely hit their desired targets, and taking down enemies does require a lot of button mashing and guesswork. (Good luck with that one)
But I will take this time to say that I did not initially play this game in VR, but rather with the DualShock 4 controller. After borrowing the VR headset from a friend, I found the controls somewhat easier to use. They were still a little slow in places, such as the character’s movement, but it was certainly an improvement, albeit a minor one.
Whilst I may sound like I am being harsh, Horus Station’s graphics are so visually stunning, that I cannot say a single bad thing about them. I often found myself getting lost in the sheer beauty of the game, particularly at the point in which you escape through the airlock into space. Everything is so detailed, that you’d think you were playing an AAA title, or watching a blockbuster. Whilst also good, the details inside the shuttle pale in comparison to the various planets and stars which become visible upon exiting the ship. I honestly would have preferred this game a lot more, if it took place entirely outside.
Horus Station’s soundtrack is another positive aspect of the game. The composers had a difficult task on their hands, considering the game didn’t really have a fleshed out narrative. But somehow, they have managed to create music that not only compliments the various environments, but also offers some insight into what the main character may be feeling as they travel through the ship.
If I were to describe Horus Station in one word, it would be slow. Nothing about this game is fast or exciting, and I think the pacing may anger a lot of people or may even put them off purchasing the game all together. It is a real shame that 3rd Eye Studios decided upon such a basic and overdone narrative, as the game had the potential to be great. In Science-Fiction the possibilities are literally endless, and as creators you can sculpt your own world/laws/creatures, but it seems like zero creativity went into making this game. Furthermore, for a game that is clearly set in the future to have such a weak antagonistic force as robots (who aren’t intimidating in the slightest) gone rogue, was somewhat of a let-down. If you’re going to do robots at least give them a presence, don’t just have them float about shooting at ‘the hero’.
All in all this game was very average, there wasn’t anything special or different about it, it was merely a game set in space. Whilst I personally didn’t enjoy playing Horus Station, I am sure many of you out there would love it, perhaps those of you are Science-Fiction fans. Just don’t go in expecting an Alien: Isolation type of adventure, as you will be sorely disappointed.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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