(A great wide scope scifi game. Very cool worldbuilding.
Andromeda Awakening - The Final Cut - Details (ifdb.org))
Entering into the world of Andromeda Awakening, the player’s freedom is purposefully overridden by the urgency of the protagonist’s mission. This did not feel like railroading by the author, it genuinely felt like the commands that did not move toward the PC’s goal entered into his mind as distractions and were then ignored. This was really helpful in aligning my focus with the protagonist’s.
Yes, that road into the city looks inviting, but there are more pressing matters to attend to first. These secret documents must be brought to the attention of the Council first.
It’s only when a literal trainwreck spoils the protagonist’s goal that protagonist and player are set free in a hellish undergound area, left on the edge of a magma-filled chasm. Every few turns a short bit of text reminds you that the earth is still settling in the aftermath of the earthquake that demolished the train tracks.
Exploring the map is a great joy. There are not that many locations, but the many hidden passages and the sudden open halls make the game feel very spacious. There is a great balance between the rocky, rubble-filled natural caves and the human(?)-made constructions under the half-molten icy planet crust.
Yes, the half-molten ice crust. The worldbuilding in Andromeda Awakening is sketchy but very evocative. To pull you even deeper into this strange planet’s geography and history you are provided with a handheld computer to LOOK UP details about many of the strange devices and constructions you encounter.
The story hints at a much greater and older world than you can experience within the boundaries of this game alone. There are ancient devices, a secret scientific research facility, hints of a thousand-year-old civilisation that came before… The writing succeeds very well at painting a big, almost overwhelming picture.
It does lack clarity in the descriptions of the immediate surroundings. I believe this is partly a conscious decision to make the player experience the same confusion as the protagonist when first seeing these otherworldly sights. Indeed, if you LOOK again, many times the room-description is more condensed and it becomes easier to select the nouns that are actually important to the game.
The other part of the unclear descriptions however is due to the fact that the author is not entirely fluent in English. There are many grating sentences that are hard to parse, and many words that seemed to be picked from a dictionary of synonyms without the necessary feel for nuances in meaning.
As a result of this, I found one of the central puzzles (copying the cylinder-pattern onto the soap) very hard to visualize. Because of this, I couldn’t figure out what commands to direct at which objects, even though I did feel I knew what had to be done (a look at the walkthrough confirmed this).
Despite this, Andromeda Awakening is impressive in its wide, possibly universe-spanning scope. It can be read as an open-ended story in itself, but I am very curious to see where the author takes it in the sequel.
When a science fiction story makes you think of how the movie Prometheus attempted to tie the Human/Alien mythos together, that says a lot about how ambitious it is. Andromeda Awakening fulfills enough of that ambition to be a great, if not fantastic, scifi-game.