Have you ever wondered how E.T. felt as he watched his spaceship sail away without him? It must have been a little daunting, facing an unfamiliar planet with nothing but glowing fingers and an adorable face to aid in your survival. Yes, I know it’s a film, but bear with me.
I’m seeing WALL-E, I’m seeing E.T., I’m seeing all sorts of acronyms!
I ramble on like this because – as you may have guessed by the title – the game I’ll be discussing today has a lot in common with Spielberg’s classic sci-fi flick. Made in Berlin by developer and publisher ION Lands, Phoning Home is an open-world adventure that promises vast environments, creative gameplay, and a robot almost as lovable as the Extra Terrestrial himself. Check out the trailer below:
You are ION, a hovering mechanical homage to the dev team (cynical, I know) who has found himself waylaid on a strange planet. His ship in disrepair, our synthetic friend has no choice but to explore this strange new world, in the hope of finding means to (drum roll please) phone home. Of course, this world is filled with threats, and ION is but a simple exploration unit; enter ANI, a slightly unstable female robot who offers to join our automated hero as a bodyguard and companion.
Now we’re just mixing our Spielbergs…
How you play Phoning Home is up to you: go loud and fight anything that moves, or stick to the shadows and complete your tasks with minimal oil-shed. The crafting elements in game allow for the collection of a variety of items which can then be used to make upgrades to our programmed protagonist and his side-kick, and you’ll also be in constant contact with your ship’s AI in case you need reminding what goes where.
Perhaps this is remnants of the Alien civilisation that the Steam page is on about.
Each of Phoning Home‘s characters has their own unique strengths: ION is blessed with good mobility and a thruster that can be used – at a cost – to traverse large gaps in the terrain. You’ll also be able to create portals, so that ANI can keep up with our electronic amigo. Speaking of whom: you may have guessed by now that ANI‘s strength lies in her firepower and sheer durability – use her to keep the dread beasties away as ION scouts for routes or collects resources. But be careful; according to the Steam page, ANI must be protected at all costs. Make of that what you will.
ANI, are you okay?
Phoning Home has been ‘Greenlighted’ on Steam for a while now, but ION Lands have only just finished tinkering, and so the game will be making its way to PC on February 7th (with Mac and Linux support following in due course). In the mean time, check out the Steam page for more info. That’s not an advertisement, I promise… It’s just that the Phoning Home website doesn’t offer much by way of information, shrouded in mystery as this game is.