Sunday, 06 September 2015 00:00


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Is STASIS Worth Playing? Two Words: Holographic Stripper. ‘Nuff Said.

Imagine waking up in a puddle of putrid sweet goo with your ribs cracked. Your heart slams against your chest, each repetition potentially its last. You’re sick, disoriented, and in desperate need of medical attention. It appears that you’ve been in isolation for some time by the disarray of your surroundings. Alone, you fear for the safety of your family. The mummified corpses of your fellow occupants lean pressed against the walls of their thick glass vials, similar to the one you recently evacuated. And then, the worst thought painfully crashes into your mind; You have no idea where you are… and you’re P*SSED.

“This isn’t Fhloston Paradise! What kind of dog and pony show are they running here!? First class my a**! … F@#king Ruby Rhod….”

Okay. So the last part never happened, but “The Brotherhood”, the mac daddies behind this indie horror gem, did their darnedest to capture the tropes of the greatest deep space goth operas, and the fruit of their efforts do not disappoint. You can spot influences from Aliens, Alien:Resurrection, Event Horizon, Dead Space, Run Like Hell, Pandora, The Thing, and on and on… and on. It’s great! Personally, I get the warm fuzzies for the point-and-click glamor days of the mid to late 90s that STASIS aims to recreate. If you fancy yourself a fanboy/girl of the genre, The Magic 8 Ball says, “it is decidedly so” that you will love this game.

[DISCLAIMER: We at neither authorize the use of magic 8 balls nor back their sometimes preposterous claims. Use at your own discretion, and always shake well before operation].

Full Disclosure here, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I fired up STASIS for the first time. Based on the limited materials I had previously been exposed to, I assumed it was a standard isometric shooter. I was dead wrong. Its roots are deep in the point-and-click exploration genre of yesteryear, complete with pre-rendered 3D backgrounds and character animations. WASD is not welcome here. Time is NOT an issue. Brain Activity IS required.

You HAVE been Warned.

Survivors make their way across the sprawling deep space vessel to discover the fate of their family, to unveil the mystery of what happened to its crew, and most importantly figure out how the hell your STASIS pod arrived here in the first place (serves them right for traveling coach). I suppose, all things given, it would be shallow of me to inquire the whereabouts of my luggage (I’ll make a mental note to take it up with management).

In the grand tradition of titles in this genre; puzzles and teasers abound.

Due to the chaos that occurred prior to your resuscitation, the ship is in sh*t for shape. Doors or damaged or locked and they’re not particularly keen on allowing tourists past their thresholds. You’ll discover tools around the decks that will aide you in making your way past the obstacles and across the desolate and dangerous environments of the drifting metal tomb. Your radio companion Te’ah (an Australian Woman named for a Klingon) guides you between objectives while filling in the gaps of the story you will gradually uncover.

Be prepared to be frustrated. Puzzles can induce intense sessions of head scratching. I spent over two hours on the first level which sadly isn’t that large (nor that difficult). The solutions make sense if you apply an ounce of gray matter to the problem. Once I stopped whining that I didn’t get to shoot the crap out of everything and pulled the crank cord on my dusty noggin, I was able to plow on through to the next stage with ease. An example (SPOILER ALERT), if you’re attempting to utilize a machine that continues to play “keep away” every time you try to interact with it, consider turning the power OFF (Duh + Face Smack). Also, make sure to read EVERY PDA, Terminal, or any other piece of text that comes your way. Glossing over it could leave you in a dead end, cursed to backtrack and click on every visible pixel of the background until you find a missing clue or item that will allow you to overcome your current predicament.

I love the fact that, for the most part, the puzzles are logical.

I haven’t found any bizarre instances along the lines of “giving the lute to the dog so he can summon the king who requires a rat to open the gate to candy land”.

Again, if you pay close attention to the text and dialog segments, there are blatant clues to assist you in solving any problem that comes your way. Ironically, I’m also fond of the fact that you can die! I know right? In a point-and-click nonetheless! It won’t have any major impact on your progress. You will respawn in the room you were previously in, allowing you to pick up where you left off with your previous incarnation, regardless of your last save location. The graphics, despite being dark and dystopian, are refreshing, showering you with a nostalgic bliss of your childhood PC adventure experiences. Although pre-rendered, additional environmental effects such as dust particles, smoke, and fog have been seamlessly integrated to help breathe “life” into the derelict ship.

There aren’t many cons with this title.

The transitional animations are a little choppy at times (mostly in the walk cycles). Also, if you don’t fancy yourself as an avid reader, you may find the plethora of text logs overwhelming (and that’s being polite about it). There were several times I wanted to beat my head against the wall when I would open PDA after PDA in a room only to find an ANOTHER short novel worth of journals and emails to pawn through. Ultimately (despite my disdain for anything requiring thought), in the end, I found it rewarding. The writers did a superb job of crafting together the story, and given the advantage of understanding the lore (via the journals), the plot is advanced in a positive way.

STASIS blindsided me.

For a game that has been in the oven for nearly five years (produced by master chef Christopher Bischoff), I only recently came across ANY materials referencing it. I guess that makes me the luckiest bastard west of the Pecos.


The Verdict

There is no feeling on this earth any more dire than that of yearning for a game YEARS before its release (I’m looking at you Bioshock: Infinite). I’m really blown away that the majority of the work was produced by TWO guys. It truly is a magnum opus, and I for one find his efforts truly inspiring. Chris and Nic, if you read this, please accept my congratulations on a job well done!

If you’re still deciding if you want to part with your pennies to pick up a copy on GOG or Steam, and you’re not sold on my humble opinion of it, just remember, It has a “Holographic Stripper.” I’ve spent far too much time watching her glitchy translucent gyrations. What can I say? I’m dirty that way.

PS: Chris and Nic: if you ever decide to pursue another Kickstarter and want to produce merchandise for the game, please consider the holo projector. You know the one I’m talking about. I have money. I will pay. I will PAY!!!!

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Aaron Weiss

Aaron Weiss is an aspiring sell-out whose adolescent ambitions of creating fake IDs for celebrity debutantes fell through when he tragically fell victim to a debilitating hangnail. Now he travels the southland teaching the magic of teh Photoshops to the unwashed masses. He also likes cookies.


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