Virtual Reality has taken the world by storm, a technology that has replaced and largely impacted what was once the 3D market, in my opinion, and with the shift into these headsets and accessories that transport us into worlds unlike ours, and it’s these moments of technical marvel that make me happy technology like this exists. The Solus Project is one example that sets itself above others in its usage of VR technology and combining it with first-person survival and exploration that I’ve had a hard time finding elsewhere.
Earth has been destroyed, there’s nothing left for humanity on our planet, so it is up to us, the player to seek out a new home to begin anew. With our trusty ship, the Solus 3, we begin our journey, however, the ship is damaged and soon after is marooned on an alien planet, Gliese-6143-C. The game begins here, and it’s up to the player to survive the planet while dealing with hunger, thirst, body temperature, and the weather, where being dry is something you’ll have to monitor.
Survival is the main aspect, followed by exploration. As you gather what you can from your crashed ship, you use a PDA to scan items and keep tabs on your overall health. Collecting items is a big part of survival, soon after you’re encouraged to gather what you can and craft items to ensure survival, diving into massive underground caves and ruins and strange temples that hold pieces of information to flesh out the story, too. Crafting plays a large part, but it is much more simplified to keep things easy and to allow for more exploring, which is the focus of The Solus Project. Once you learn to craft and monitor your body’s needs and being cautious to the environment – it becomes much easier to manage day to day as you play.
The campaign will take you anywhere between 15-20 hours to complete, there’s a cohesive story being told to you in pieces, and to be honest, it would be a disservice to delve too deep into it, around the halfway point though, gears shift from one genre to another, shifting heavy into a horror game. You can follow the story through your PDA. The developers did a wonderful job of laying the foundation for their story through things you’ll find or come across on this alien planet.
One thing The Solus Project has done exceedingly well is making you feel small while exploring the planet, underground caves, for example, make you feel insignificant in scope when you stop and look around, there’s something eerie when you take the view in, how little you feel when viewing your surroundings. I will say this, exploring Gliese-6143-C is one of the biggest highlights of playing the game in VR mode, and the world feels well thought out. Looking up at the moons, the stars, you feel so far away from home – something I never thought would happen, it is these experiences that give you a reason to explore the planet and diving deep underground.
This comes at a price though – the first half of the game brings a serene feeling of wonder, you’re marooned on a planet that isn’t home, and you’re free to do as me brings a serene feeling of wonder, you’re marooned on a planet that isn’t home, and you’re free to go out and explore, that shift in horror replaces serenity with dread and the places you’ll visit in the latter half of the game feel like they are out a certain sci-fi movie franchise.
While the virtual reality implementation is solid, I did encounter some issues with controls at the start, this was resolved quickly, however, as I found after reading how to use the Move controllers correctly, the overall experience improved significantly. I’d advise learning how the Move controllers are implemented before starting as the tutorial is nearly non-existent. Hopefully, in the future, some of these issues can be resolved by patching in more details, I’d love to see something.
The Solus Project is an enjoyable VR experience. The moment you begin exploring this alien planet to the moment you finish the story campaign, the sense of mystery and wonder won’t be found elsewhere. As of now, this experience is one of my favorites in virtual reality headspace, and The Solus Project provides a unique experience to those who seek it.