Platform PS4, PS Vita Developer Benjamin Rivers Publisher Benjamin Rivers Release Date 23/08/2016 Code Provided by Benjamin Rivers
Alone With You is set on a terra-forming colony on a distant planet that suffered major destruction when the Rift moved. You have been surviving alone for these past 16 years but you are now in a situation where in four weeks you will surely die. To ensure your survival (and eventual rescue) you must fix the only escape craft.
Alone With You last for three in game weeks as you will die by the time the forth weeks arrives. Each week you must complete tasks at other sites of the terra-forming base. Each of these tasks will involve you collecting data that you can feed to the AI, which in turn will assist you on your escape mission. The date is passed onto each of the four core crew members of the original mission which will help you develop essential parts for you successful rescue mission.
You meet these crew members in a holo room each night where you can discuss your findings. As the holo room can create a close to real life version of the crew member I question you can also have some deep, meaningful conversations with them. This is where Alone With You shines as a narrative driven game. You connect with these characters even though they are long gone but somehow you feel like they are in the very room with you. It manages to create a perfect sense of loneliness, where you would attach yourself to anything so that you would succumb to that fear of being alone.
The AI itself suffers from this same feeling. You see it grow as the narrative progresses. What starts of as a system helping you to escape tr no into something that you feel for. At the end of the day it is a machine but somewhere deep inside you could say there is a little human there. It sits there in the top corner watching everything you do. The AI knows you and everything that you do.
Thinking about it now, the title of this game is actually an oxymoron. How can you be alone with someone? You are the only human left on the planet, so yes technically you are alone but you do have an AI that is capable of thought and compassion (as it grows). Another thought are the characters “stuck” in the holo room. They only exists as digital back ups from an earlier time point. When you talk to these characters you do sense how lonely they are and there is a great emphasis on how glad they are when you go to visit them. It must be a horrible feeling knowing that even though you “exist” (as in the form of a hologram) but knowing at the same time that you have already died (pretty much like Rimmer from Red Dwarf).
I feel that both the playable character and who ever you are visiting benefit from the sessions together. Loneliness is a terrible thing and you can feel the effects of it throughout the narrative.
As you can imagine there is a lot of reading to be done in this game as it is an interactive story. You will move the character backwards and forwards between sites with you always coming back home each time. This sometime can feel a little tedious as it is repetitive but it is worth it for the snippet of story you will get from the Holo room.
Pixel art is a huge thing at the moment in the gaming industry (especially smaller games) as it is not too demanding on user’s systems and you can get a great looking game. Alone With You has some incredible pixel art work on display. Animations, whether subtle or large, all take place effortlessly and adds a great depth to the game. The level of detail that is involved with this game is outstanding – there is never a point where you cannot make out what you are actually looking at. In addition to how the game looks, how the game sounds is just as good. There is a brilliant, sci-fi soundtrack that creates a sense of wonder, danger and loneliness. The one sound effect that makes me laugh every time it comes on is the Shuttle transition sound. It is like a classic 1980’s cartoon transition.
Alone With You is a excellent experience that will be enjoyed by anyone who like sci-fi based narratives. There is not a lot to actually do in the game (even though it clocks 6-8 hours) and the obstacles that block the narrative are not difficult to get through. However though this game is all about the story and at the end of it all you may question yourself on what you think true loneliness really is.
Alone With You (PS4) - 9/10
Who Should Buy This
Anyone who enjoys character development
Narrative driven gamers
Who Should Avoid
Players who cannot stand reading lots of text
Haters of Pixel Art
Players who do not like having to piece a story together themselves