Gaming has evolved to embrace all kinds of environments; wastelands, fantasy landscapes or even fairy realms. As of lately, gaming is also spreading to the “final frontier.” Quite a number of games are being inspired by the world outside our own planet, but none have quite given gamers the experience of space as much as ADR1FT.
Adr1ft is a first person game which, as described above, takes place in space. You take control of Commander Alex Oshima, an astronaut who was navigating a mission with her crew aboard the Northstar IV spaceship. As usual in these types of games, something goes horribly wrong and suddenly you find yourself floating among the wreckages of what once was your space station. There is debris and destruction everywhere, yet the shape of the ship is mostly still there, so navigation between different rooms is rarely made tougher from the layout. What is a bit disappointing, right from the start, is the fact that we do not see the blast or whatever caused the huge wreckage. This is honestly one of the biggest downpoints of the game, and could have been a very good opportunity to create an amazing set piece.
Basically, gameplay in Adr1ft is very simple. You just move around with the analog stick, with shoulder buttons used to roll to the sides as well as go higher or lower. The analog buttons can be clicked either to re-float to an upright position, which is much more useful than I am making it sound, or also to use your sensor to locate nearby oxygen bottles or objectives. Movement in Adr1ft is fairly similar to what you imagine moving in space is, meaning slow and bulky, so the time it takes to get from A to B is fairly compensated by the environment and also the novelty of it, since very few games have done this before.
The gameplay in Adr1ft is simply and easy to master, but gameplay is not the main player in the game. Instead, the visuals take centre stage. This is because you can get out of the spaceship any time you wish, and stare down at our home planet in all its blue and greenish glory. I could never get tired of staring at it even though I am not a huge space fan. What is a little underwhelming is the absence of the Sun, which although would have played a very minor role in the game, could have elevated the beauty of the landscape as well as the fidelity of the game.
If you are getting the idea that the game does not have much to do except move, you are probably right. In fact, gameplay gets old after one or two hours, since all you do is go from A to B to C etc. It is almost as if the game was never planned for more than a couple of hours, but then got stretched to five or six through long distances and slow speeds. Thankfully, along your way you will find collectibles which give a lot more personality to the game. You find computers and read emails, which may help you re-construct what happened to make the ship go boom, as well as audio logs from other crew members detailing plans of what they want to do once the voyage is over. It gives much more personality to the game than what the missions or Commander Oshima does on her own, which is a plus to the game’s score.
Adr1ft is one of the best looking games on PS4 to date, and coupled with the scarcity of space games out there, it makes it even more of a gem. Unluckily, it does not have a good enough story to make us all praise this to the moon and back. It still is interesting, and devoting an hour a day for a week will not take any effort, especially if you take in all the amazing vistas of space that Adr1ft is so keen on providing over and over again.