Imaginative Spooks: DXC2: Solipsis
You might know Daniel Mullins through such wonderful games as Pony Island (a cute game about Ponies and nothing else). And The Hex (where some video game characters have drinks and nothing else). Here we have Solipsis, a spooky little game about doing science and nothing else. It might not be as memorable as his previous games, but there is a beauty in simplicity.
The man on the moon:
You are a pair of scientists (although you only control one of them) examining gravity anomalies on the moon, then cosmic horror stuff happens. It isn't that much in terms of narrative. Something happens to the ship which causes the astronaut to become isolated on the planet. He goes mad and there is a face on the moon. The entire game could be read as a metaphor for isolation, with horrifying visions being that of a desperate mind knowing that he will not last long.
The problem is that there is not enough material to give an analysis. There is a good amount of atmosphere to be had in Solipsis. The sense of isolation and hopelessness is palpable. As your hapless astronaut is dragged further into a nightmare that neither he nor us can ever hope to understand. It should have been longer, I wish it had a more in-depth story because it's current narrative is supremely lacking.
The gameplay is also rather lacking, you control your little astronaut in a very linear environment, placing a measurement stick at the center screen before continuing. The Rationalize mechanic is rather interesting. In that, you have to fit the shape into the protagonist's head to continue. It has potential but needed more time to escalate. The idea of snapping off bits of the shape to make the thought fit is a fantastic visual metaphor for the process humans use to try to make sense of the world. Even if they don’t understand what is going on. The game is honestly fine but could have been more fleshed out.
Solipsis might not be the scariest in the collection or offer much in terms of gameplay. But as an experience, it is perfectly fine. I had fun with it and the short length stopped it from outstaying it’s welcome.
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