Close to the Sun is an Indie Bioshock Without the Combat

By Laura Kate Dale on at

Kotaku UK are spending this week reporting live from the show floor at Gamescom, in Cologne, Germany,  and we're getting our hands on as many games as we can, both big and small.

Earlier today we had some hands on time with Close to the Sun, an indie game which has been getting praise left and right at conferences, and as such seemed worth taking some time to check out.

The premise of the game is very familiar if you've played Bioshock, with a once glorious environment filled with the world's greatest minds, which has fallen into disrepair by the time the player arrives. The idea of an enlightened utopia fallen to ruin from the inside isn't necessarily a new concept, but the specifics of Close to the Sun's world were pretty interesting.

You play as a journalist, in an alternate history where Nikola Tesla has brought the world's greatest minds together on a ship to work on furthering the world. Invited to the ship by a letter from your younger sister, you arrive to find the area is desolate, quarantined, and filled with mutilated bodies. Your sister is there, but she claims she didn't invite you, well, not in the present at least.

The demo I played was largely centred on slow scene setting exploration of this environment, and discovery of well fleshed out world building environments. There was a lot of walking and listening to dialogue, but there were also environmental puzzles centred around getting power back to doors, unlocking passages, or breaking into safes.

Most of the demo was built around slowly exploring the environment and learning about the world, but there were a few points where monstrous humanoid creatures came close to interacting with the player. I've been assured that the game will not feature combat with these creatures, but instead when encountered, the player will have to take part in fast paced scenes running away and escaping harm.

I played around half an hour of the game, and it looks great. The environments were polished and full of interesting design, the puzzle designs made sense, and the project feels really promising overall. My only real issue with the Gamescom build was that the head bob was pretty intense and caused some motion sickness, and this build did not have any options to turn that off.