One of the most intriguing and satisfying things in my life is scenarios and mysteries. Close to the Sun combines those with another one of my tantalizing infatuations that is horror and all subjects alike. With other titles already setting the bar on the survival-horror genres will it shoot for the stars or burn up in the sun. This is our Close to the Sun preview on the Nintendo Switch.
Close to the Sun is a first-person horror adventure game developed by Storm in a Teacup and published by Wired Productions. This game was developed utilizing the Unreal Engine, the game was released on May 2019 for Microsoft Windows and is soon to be released on October 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Close to the Sun is set in an alternative reality at the beginning of the 20th century, in a technical war between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. The player guides a Journalist named Rose Archer whose sole mission is to save her sister Ada. The game starts off with Rose reading a letter sent to her by Ada requesting that she comes aboard the colossal sea cruiser named “the Helios”. After a short period of traveling on a small radio-controlled boat, you dock with the Helios to find that things are not quite what they seem.
Close to the Sun starts off rather slow but this I feel was very well thought out as it aids in building the suspense needed to draw the player’s attention. With plenty of unanswered questions and mysteries unraveling during the game’s progression, it was not hard to keep my interests peaked. The game was roughly six hours long and rather addicting. Throughout my day I quickly found myself wanting to start the game up and continue as the very essence of the story kept me wanting more. The Art Deco styling of the game really drew me in, the Helios was very well detailed and designed to portray that yes people did, in fact, live on this ship and sadly died on this ship.
The game play was relatively good though on the switch the frame rates seem to suffer from time to time. The game was played with a mix of the Nintendo Pro Controller and Joy cons. The button setup was easy to adjust to with only a slight learning curve. Most of the frustration came from having to get the angle just right to open some of the doors and interacting with levers and buttons. This did not sway my experience in any way, with that being said the lack of utilization of the console hardware by means of the motion controls is a bit of a letdown. Actions like pressing buttons and opening doors may have been a bit more intuitive using the motion controls and making accuracy more spot on. One interesting control was being able to look behind you while running during the chase scenes. Being honest I was more concerned what was in front of me and maybe tried it one to two times.
Graphically the game was stunning to me, I have been called a raccoon as things that light up, glow and shine seem to draw my attention like a fly to a bug zapper. I believe Storm in a Teacup chooses the perfect engine to build on their game. The visual elements of the game were captivating and created a sense of believably. With such detail being put into the rooms, the character models could have benefited with a touch more detail. Where some elements may have lacked a high polygon count, other details did a great job of selling the scenes. Throughout the game, there are letters, drawings, blueprints that you are able to read and view. One of my favorites was the character drawing of Nicola Tesla balancing on a chair.
Puzzle-solving is another great aspect of a good game and used correctly can add more game play and extend the length of the game. One hint I will give out is read everything and pay attention to what you are reading. Those button orders to turn on generators and such really do matter. What I really did enjoy was how the developers increased some of the puzzle difficulty by aiding in the OMG I am going to die element. Various points in the game you are faced with an enemy trying to kill you and your only option I the run, run like the flash. Sounds easy but with dead ends, twists, obstacles to jump any miscalculation will result in being on the receiving end of some rather disturbing imagery. No game is complete without a few moments that bring you back to childhood and want to chuck your controller at the wall while shouting obscenities. I will not spoil this particular moment for anyone else that reaches it but I will say I almost wanted to give up as reaching a second floor while being chased, finding the right lever was frustrating, to say the least. Once I perfected my run and fine-tuned my trajectory, I felt a great sense of accomplishment that even made me jump to my feet and yell, hell yea!! Followed by getting yelled at for waking up my family at 2 am.
Overall, I found Close to the Sun very enjoyable and, to be frank, it has been a long time since a game has grabbed my attention enough to not only complete it but do so in such a timely manner. The ending of the game did leave me with some hopes for a continuation or at least a standalone DLC to explore the other angles of the story only hinted at. Currently, I find myself wondering what exactly does Tesla and rose to do in the future and how do they do it!
- Beautiful graphics
- Easy controls
- Well-constructed storyline
- Lack of motion controls
- Occasional slow framerates
A Nintendo Switch code was provided for this preview.