STASIS is a sci-fi point-and-click adventure game from The Brotherhood. Kickstarted back in 2013, STASIS received $132,523 of its $100,000 target, and today launches on both Steam and GOG. Inspired by the game Sanitarium, and made by a one-man-band Chris Bischoff over the past five years, STASIS promises a true, horror sci-fi experience. Let’s take a look.
STASIS starts with an awesome, movie-like introduction, showing a ship flying through space. The music, art, and direction show clearly already that the title is not lacking production value. You wake up on an abandoned ship, fresh out of a stasis chamber, with no recollection of what’s happened. The last thing you remember is you, your wife, and your daughter were heading to Titan.
You are alone. Not only on the ship, but in regards to gameplay and problem solving; you are truly on your own. There are no goals, no objectives, and no tips on where to go next. Only through meticulous exploration of your environment, and taking careful note of your surroundings, and the scraps of information provided, will you be able to progress.
Gameplay is typical of point-and-click adventure, and the isometric environments help pull you into the environment. The art utilizes pre-rendered 3D environments, with a gritty, film-grain like layer atop. It creates a very grungy atmosphere, that when coupled with the ambient backing track, and the terrifying sounds the ship makes, creates a very tense and uneasy feeling.
The music and sound in STASIS go a long way, and thanks to the highly successful Kickstarter campaign, two world class musicians, Mark Morgan and Daniel Sadowski worked on the project. Same goes for the excellent voice acting. The Kickstarter funds also allowed professional voice actors Ryan Cooper, and Rebecca McCarthy to join the project. All interaction is excellently narrated which goes further in immersing you in the experience.
The game starts somewhat slowly at first. You’ve taken damage and are ill, so can’t move too fast. Your first task is to find medical help. You come across an old machine that can help, and the first puzzle presented is to get it up and running. This is a great example of how the game doesn’t molly-coddle you, and leaves it up to you. There are no prompts on where to go. No suggestions on how things work, you just have to work things out. There is a circuit breaker on the wall, and to learn how to use it you have to press all the buttons and see what happens. It’s authentic, and the sense of adventure and the unknown is great.
Information is gained by exploring items, and reading computer terminals. Often, things like this can feel disjointed from the task at hand, and somewhat superfluous. Asif you’re going out of your way to learn extra, non-critical information, but not with STASIS. Everything is relevant to the storyline, and you need to gather the information in order to continue. It’s just you, the operating system that runs the ship, and your intrigue.
After more delving, and puzzle solving, you discover that you appear to be on a scientific research ship that’s been running for 50 years. How long you’ve been here for god only knows. As you explore the ship further things start taking a turn for the macabre. Corpses lie in empty corridors, screams radiate throughout, and shadows of creatures scurry past the edges of your vision. I’ve also come across another human, and have been instructed to leave the area I’m in immediately. Things are ramping up, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they’re taking me.
Narrative plays a large part in what makes STASIS great. Diligent reading and exploration will yield the greatest results, and you’ll get out of it what you put it. I think if you rush through it, just solving the puzzles in order to move forward, you might have a lesser experience.
I’m about an hour and a half into STASIS, and it’s clear that a rich and well produced journey lies ahead. A grungy and rich aesthetic makes the environments real, and the excellent voice acting brings the characters to life. I love the fact that the game really leaves you in your own. It’s a true adventure game, not ‘Go Here, Do This, Collect That’. If you don’t have a sharp mind and approach the environment diligently you won’t get too far. For fans of adventure games, STASIS is a must-play.
Tl:dr – STASIS is a sci-fi, horror, point and click adventure game. With great production value, including the effort of great musicians, and professional voice actors, a fitting world is created to host the rich narrative. It doesn’t hold your hand, and it requires a sharp mind and key eye to progress. You’ll get out of it what you put in, and if you invest in it you will be rewarded with a great experience.
Rating – 8.5/10