I’ve always been a fan of space isolation stories. The few games who explore this idea are of course horror games; having the player fight some alien force, hell-bent on wiping out every living thing on the planet, spaceship, etc. What these types of games don’t explore however, is the relationships between the stranded in this situation. Alone With You does this very thing. But without action, horror, monsters, and death, will it still be a journey worth completing?
The game takes place on a seemingly dead and abandoned planet after a failed terraforming program. You find yourself utterly alone, with your only company being the Artificial Intelligence originally created to manage the project. The A.I’s goal is now to collect enough data and supplies to help you construct a working shuttle and get you safely off the planet. While both you and the A.I don’t possess the expertise to fix the shuttle, luckily a hologram program was loaded with the personalities of a few of the experts who once worked on the project. Since the A.I had lost contact with the experts long ago, the hologram program holds the last known personalities of the experts. The experts live on via the simulation, which allows you to interact and speak with as if they were still there. You’ll use this and other left behind information to help you escape the collapsing planet.
The gameplay is strictly exploration and interaction. You’ll spend your time checking various rooms and buildings looking for clues and information to help both your escape plan, and strengthen your relationship with the A.I and the holograms. The game offers various dialog options that will effect the story, responses, and relationships with the various characters. The game does feature a fair amount of ‘puzzles’, but these are not remotely difficult, and I would say nearly none of them really qualify as a puzzle. Most of the game’s puzzles consists of you needing a key code for a door, which you then simply walk around until you find the numbers jotted down somewhere. These numbers often have literally nothing to do with the door itself, but rather are listed on some completely unrelated thing. While this isn’t always the case, it just doesn’t make any sense, and it will leave veteran gamers over-thinking the puzzles simply because the answer is illogical.
The main focus of the game is to learn about the history of the planet and the previous dwellers. It’s a story game at its very core. Thankfully it tells a very interesting and compelling story. If you are someone interested in story, characters, and various ending possibilities, you’ll surely find yourself lost in the world of Alone With You. With that being said, if you’re looking for a traditional ‘game’, look elsewhere. This game swaps traditional gameplay with an excellent story about humanity and emotions in a very interesting and rarely visited situation.
Visually the game keeps the retro feel as it did with its predecessor, ‘Home‘. This time around, the pixel art is a bit more detailed and it contains a deeper colour palette. Layers of dust cover the screen and mix with the washed-out colours of the environment and it creates a very pleasing and unique look. It’s well animated and it will feel very familiar to those who have played the 1991 release ‘Another World’.
The sound design compliments the game’s visual style as well. Beeps and buzzes fill every room with the retro space sounds, which you would expect. These are complimented with a mixture of catchy techno and electronic music that changes as you progress.
More important in this game than in others, the writing is the main focal point for the title, and it does not disappoint. The writing is clever and charming, and sometimes slightly dark. There are multiple areas of the planet for you to explore, and each one has at least one different story arc to follow. There are also a few subplots that you can also delve into, but they are optional. The more you look into the subplots in each area, the closer you are able to become with each hologram simulation.
Overall, Alone With You takes a new, fresh look at the romance game genre. It may not offer the gameplay of traditional releases, but it does offer something new and interesting in a very approachable manner. If you’re a fan of sci-fi, and a fan of love, give this game a go. Allow yourself to be drawn into the story, and you won’t be disappointed.