The year is 1992 and I’m at my friend’s house engrossed in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, the Lucas Arts point-and-click adventure; this is the game that made me love the genre. Alone With You is not a strict point-and-click adventure, but does carry some of the great qualities that made me love these games. Combining these qualities with its emotional narrative and beautiful pixel design, Alone With You wrapped me up in a nostalgic blanked and carried me through it thoughtful and emotional story, despite some limited gameplay.
Alone With You, created by Benjamin Rivers, is set on a fictional planet where an environmental disaster has caused sever damaged to much of the settlement. Your AI companion soon tells you just how bad the situation is, detailing that you have three weeks to repair a shuttle and evacuate before the planet explodes. There’s a catch though, and it’s a pretty big one – neither you or the AI has any idea on how to repair the evacuation shuttle!
With only three weeks lefts, a shattered colony and no idea what your doing, what do you do? Well, what every space dweller living on an alien planted does in this situation: turn to your holographic friends. Yep, I said holographic friends. Other than the colony you’re living in (Colony A), there are four other sites stationed on the planet, each with a “holographic friend” linked to it. After returning from your search of a certain area of the colony, you will meet with its hologram.
It is in these encounters that Alone With You stands out, and yet it still doesn’t quite reach the heights I hoped it would. When talking to the different colonists in the holo-chamber (the place you meet with your new holographic buddies each night), there is a really nice sense of relationship building; conversations would change depending on how I had previously answered a question. Also, each colonist has a different personality, which can have an affect on the way you approach different situations with them. Although I loved my nocturnal meetings with the different colonists, it is also in these meeting where the game lets itself down.
I sometimes found that if I had chosen an abrupt and rude answer to a question, the dialog would go in a circle; it would ask me the same question again, this time only allowing me to answer with a kinder response. I don’t mind being nice, but at times I felt like it was the only option. For a relationship building game, I found this to be a slightly linear approach to the overall gameplay.
So, what do you do when not relaying information to a holographic simulation? As previously mentioned, your AI will set up visits to different sections of the colony. You often have a choice in where to go next which. For me, it came down to who I wanted to see in the holo-chamber that night. Your main aim at these locations is to find technology and resources to aid your evacuation. Searching for various parts never felt tiresome due to the brisk walking pace and speedy loading times. A really nice touch is the pixel animations when interacting with different items; at times I felt I was watching an 80’s cartoon.
Through all the searching for resources, you also uncover some secrets about the crew that populated the station. Most of these secrets revolve around your four holographic friends. Although the game never throws you any gasp-out-loud twists, the subtle turns in the story do carry some emotional attachment. I often found myself concerned for what the colonists had to live through. The main narrative of the story does a good job of keeping you engaged through its seven hour campaign, steadily building in pace as it leads up to the climatic conclusion.
Alone With You does throw you the occasional puzzle, and like classic point-and-click adventures some of these are a simple case of finding a key to open a door. Other times I found myself taking notes to complete a code that unlocked a secure area. Although these are nice elements to the game, they never feel very challenging, there are a few times where I felt the game was literally telling me the answer. I wanted the puzzles to require more exploration and interaction with the richly presented pixel world.
Alone With you takes some inspiration from classic point-and-click adventures and adds a unique relationship building story, which is delivered through some well written text. Although at times I was felt forced to be the “good guy,” some of my actions did still carry consequences. Alone With You took me on an emotional and thought-provoking journey that I really enjoyed, but I think one adventure around this doomed alien planet was enough.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Alone no more!
Design - 8/10
Plot - 8/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Beautiful pixel animations and well written story are enough to charm you through some limited gameplay.