Close to the Sun is a first-person horror puzzle game that was released 2nd May 2019. It is currently exclusively available to play via the Epic Game Store on PC. Later in 2019, it will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The game was developed by Storm in a Teacup and published by Wired Productions. Storm in a Teacup have a goal of creating a better gaming future and want to use games to create stories. Wired Productions have their logo as a razor blade. This is because they want to be represented being strong, creative, sharp and cutting edge.
Close to the Sun tells the story of the Helios, which is a ship created and designed by the famous Nikola Tesla. You play as a young woman named Rose searching for her sister, Ada, aboard the Helios. When you start the game, Rose is stepping onto the Helios for the first time, and everything has gone to pot. The ship seems abandoned, and it is a complete mess. You pick up an earpiece, allowing you to contact your sister and ask her where she is. As you traverse through the ship, there will be unexpected dangers that you will face. You quickly learn that everything is not as is seems.
Close to the Sun offers a creepy exploration experience, along with puzzles to solve. The puzzles come in a variety of forms, from simply pulling specific levers to cracking a code. As you explore the Helios you will have the opportunity to discover secret rooms and avoid death. You will also meet the famous Nikola Tesla and learn about some of his other creations. The game completely focuses around science and what scientific discoveries can mean for humanity.
Getting from A to B
The main issue with Close to the Sun is the control system. There is no tutorial for the game, so you have to figure out how to do certain actions for yourself. For the computer keyboard, you have the basic movement buttons, i.e., W, S, D and A. You can then use the arrow keys or the mouse to look around, and you can click on items that you want to use or pick up. There is also a jump ability, which is performed by pressing the Space Bar.
The issue that I had with the game was figuring out how to get the character to run. I first tried looking in the game’s options screen, which does have a controls tab. The problem with the controls tab is that it only has preset options for an Xbox controller. As you can imagine, this did not help me at all since I was playing the game on PC, and it doesn’t allow you to look at keyboard controls. The only way I could find out how to run was by opening the game in my computer files and looking at the controls file.
It turned out that the button for run was the ” symbol. Now, on my keyboard this is used by pressing Shift and 2. Because there was no option to change the control setting, I had to hold Shift and 2 whilst moving, looking around and jumping all at the same time. This made everything extremely difficult.
Experience a Story
There are a lot of great qualities to Close to the Sun, the main one being the individuality of the story. There has been quite a bit of speculation that the game is extremely similar to BioShock. It is quite true that the game’s atmosphere and design are very similar to BioShock, but Close to the Sun offers a very different and creative story from that of BioShock, and the fact that it includes a famous scientist is very inventive. Close to the Sun offers players the chance to enjoy an experience filled with suspense. The game is dramatic and full of scary moments that will make you jump.
Another great quality to Close to the Sun are the graphics. It’s immediately noticeable that the Helios is brilliantly detailed. The graphics are what have made the game very creepy, though they seem to be let down a little bit when it comes to looking at smaller objects. I found that when I was working on a puzzle, the symbols were quite difficult to make out. This was only on the odd occasion, so most of the time the graphics are great.
Close to the Sun isn’t a very long game. It is split up into chapters and, once you know the controls, you can get through each chapter quite quickly and easily. I am not going to give anything away, but the ending is quite abrupt and can leave you feeling deflated. I would have enjoyed the game more if it would have been longer. When I finished Close the Sun, I found myself thinking, “Is that it?”.
Close to the Sun Overall
Close the Sun has a great story, but it is quite a short story. It feels like the game came to a very abrupt ending. It’s very creepy and has a lot of scary moments, which is great. As I have mentioned, the game is very similar to BioShock, but it is extremely creative and has a lot of individuality. I like the fact that the game is split into chapters because it is full of suspense and, when you have finished a chapter, it spurs you on to complete the next chapter.
The main issues for the game lie with the control system because it made me feel extremely frustrated trying to figure how to do certain actions. It would have been very helpful if the game had a tutorial included at the beginning. The graphics are great for the overall surroundings and atmosphere. Saying that, the graphics seemed to be a bit of a problem when it came to smaller and specific things, like symbols for some of the puzzles.
Developer: Storm in a Teacup
Publisher: Wired Productions
Release Date: 2nd May 2019