Developer: The Brotherhood
Platforms: PC, Mac
The last twelve months have been a wonderful time for sci-fi horror fans. Alien: Isolation last October; Solarix, Duskers, and Quadrant this year; SOMA later this month. And of course, now Stasis. The sci-fi horror adventure game has been in development for five years, highly anticipated due to its isometric art and gory gritty style.
Having finished Stasis a few days ago, I think it's safe to say the game absolutely succeeds, delivering the kind of industrial atmosphere and gruesome visuals that would make Ridley Scott and David Cronenberg proud.
As you search the massive Groomlake for your family, you'll discover the truth behind the research and experiments conducted there, through the PDA logs of scientists and crew members. Those short vignettes flesh out the world, provide insight into the horrific secrets of the Groomlake, and give the setting a real sense of place. It's not just a drifting haunted house; people lived and worked here.
Due to the focus on the narrative, the less known about the plot, the better, but I'll say it's mature, engrossing, and realistic. You're just a normal man, looking for his family, on a research vessel-turned-living nightmare.
However, the game also had several more obtuse puzzles, with confusing combination and uses of items that left me stumped for a while.
You aren't safe either; there are many gruesome ways to die on the Groomlake, from being melted to more...exotic deaths. The stakes are high, and the things John has to do to survive and find his loved ones are easily on par with gaming's most uneasy and disturbing moments. If you thought Heavy Rain's Lizard Trial or Dead Space 2's eye surgery were nauseating, Stasis finds a way to top those moments. This is horror on an intimate level, rather than shadows and monster closets and jump spaces (although there are some of those too).
Despite those gripes, Stasis was one of the most engaging game I've played this year. It's a tightly focused game, about a solid 8 or 9 hours of puzzles and exploration. The unnerving soundscape, the disturbing and mature atmosphere, the wonderfully detailed isometric art style all coalesce into a sci-fi horror game absolutely worth experiencing
You can purchase Stasis on Steam and GOG.