Though the 3DS has had a lot of hate thrown at it, its good to see that Nintendo are finally embracing the concept of online stores and downloadable games (even if it does follow the typical YOU ALL BELONG TO ME style Nintendo love). Its also show that Nintendo are more than willing to work with indie developers.
One such union is the Starship Damrey, which styles itself as a horror puzzler, where you must control a robot remotely to help restore power to a ship drifting in space, so you can free yourself from a stasis pod you are trapped in all the while trying to piece together just what happened on board. There is also what seems to be a ghost of a young girl wondering the corridors.
Its a good game, even if the logic of some of the puzzles is a little unsound (to clear a passage you make a small explosion to clear to rubble-something that would probably be suicidal on an actual space ship). The lonely corridors, where all you will meet are the dead or the dying, create a very strong atmosphere and I must say I enjoyed spending time there. As you are encouraged to explore the ship you build up a small sense of narrative about the dead crew you were a part of. These small snippets navigate the tricky balance of making sure there is enough narriative, but not so much that you are overwhelmed. I got a sense that the ship was once very much alive, but that the crew were very human too, with likes, dislikes and romantic affections that would come from spending a long time in such a small place.
As to the central mystery of what happened, well its resolved in a very complete way by the end of the game. You will have to play the game itself, but its safe to say fans of gothic horror may just guess the ending before it arrives.
The game can be a little frustrating at times, as the very similar looking corridors got me lost quite a few times. The game is short as I completed it in an evening, but thats no slight against it.
It doesn’t outstay its welcome and despite some slightly laugh out lough cut scenes, (which turn your service drone into some sort of matrix style super warrior) its mostly a consistent and very satisfying. It will be perhaps a bit boring for those who don’t like adventure games, but its a welcome entry to the genre for those who do.
The Starship Damrey is out on the Nintendo 3DS eshop now