I was kindly gifted a key for Close to the Sun, a game I was excited for as soon as I saw some screenshots released by the developers, Storm in a Tea Cup. It had a Bioshock art deco look to it and I was expecting it to be the same kind of game. However, upon playing I can tell you other than the art style, this game is nothing like Bioshock, but that’s okay.
You play as Rose, who has been asked to go to a huge and impressive ship called the Helios by her sister, Ada. The Helios belongs to Nikola Tesla and there are plenty of his inventions to learn about and admire while you wander through the levels and corridors of this huge city-sized vessel. It has its own metro system, that’s how big it is. The ship was obviously built to impress before it was quarantined and some crazy stuff went down in this historic alternative universe, but what?
Walking Simulator Related Frustrations
You enter the ship and immediately you feel limited due to the slow speed you are forced to move around. Holding down shift barely helps, and this can be somewhat frustrating and makes the game feel slow paced. There were a few jumps in the first chapter, which got me excited to move forward and persevere, but the jump scares don’t last, and they come at expected moments as you progress through the game. I think a good comparison with speed and movement is Outlast and Layers of Fear to an extent. This is a walking simulator, but I do wish it would allow you to run, especially in the later sequences as it can feel tedious at points.
As Rose, you’re hunting for Ada, looking for clues as to what’s gone down and perhaps what you could be facing as you navigate the ship. You do contact your sister along with a guy named Aubrey who offers to help you deal with some of the obstacles that you face. Obviously, things don’t go smoothly and there are a couple of enemies that you must flee from and defeat. There are several puzzles, nothing too taxing which makes the game an enjoyable experience. I did find some of them to be slightly annoying more than difficult, but I think the main reason for this was the low light in the game, so don’t be scared to alter the settings a little in the later chapters.
A Short But Satisfying Game and Interesting Story
Each chapter is relatively short, the whole game can be easily completed in 6 hours. Perhaps a little longer if you want to find the limited collectibles along the way. The main struggle is finding the right path and making sure you don’t mess up if you want to avoid repeating sections again and again. The repeating factor is perhaps the most frustrating part as you pay for any false move. Once you achieve the goal you are rewarded with a sense of relief and satisfaction that will push you on to complete the game.
Watch my entire gameplay (excuse the cursing!) to experience Close to the Sun or better yet, treat yourself to one of the best walking simulators out there. Despite a lull in interest in the middle chapters, the game quickly picked up thanks to intense moments and albeit predictable yet intriguing twists and turns. You can buy Close to the Sun on the Epic launcher for PC now and it’s coming to Xbox One and PS4 later on this year. I’m excited to see what Storm in a Tea Cup do in the future.