ADR1FT Preview

Like Gravity with amnesia. Or like Amnesia with less gravity. Your choice.

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be stranded in space with no memory of why you’re up there, or what Adam Orth has been up to since his infamous departure from Microsoft, then Three One Zero’s ADR1FT may provide the answers you’re looking for.

As Commander Alex Oshima, players will find themselves among the remains of the space station, Hardiman Aerospace Northstar IV, with a hauntingly beautiful view of Earth. Something destroyed this floating sanctuary, and you’ll spend the course of the game trying to remind yourself what. Oh, and you need to make sure you don’t run out of oxygen or rupture your space suit while you’re at it.

I managed to get my hands on what was dubbed a “FPX — First Person Experience” at E3 2015, and it was at once tranquil and nerve-wracking. In general, I’ve always hated gameplay scenarios that leave you with a limited supply of air but not for the mechanics themselves. Rather, since I’m more of a cautious explorer when I play games, the idea of my time spent wandering being cut short gets my heart beating. This fear was only exacerbated as I witnessed the consequence of wandering too far from an air source—Oshima’s panicked hands reaching out for a distant replenishment can before their movement is arrested, and the image blurs out.

Changing my approach, mainly by not going “Wheee! Space!” at the first opportunity, I was able to explore more of the space station. Overall, gliding through space was fairly simple, and it wasn’t long before I was coasting down corridors, looking for oxygen and clues. When it comes to grabbing objects, players are not responsible for accomplishing the perfect intersection. Instead, once you are close enough to something, it will highlight, allowing you to hold a button that will not only cause your arms to reach out for it, but also make you follow its path. Otherwise, the same button can be use to slap impediments out of your way.

While exploring, I found a computer terminal, which tasked me with restoring power to nearby parts of the station. On the way, I found collectible audio logs, which you use to reveal the backstory behind the destruction preceding the game. There are also various transmissions from the craft that’ll guide or update you as you progress through the short game, estimated at about four hours or so. I think that’s enough time for me to empathetically forget to breathe!

I tried out both regular PC play and the experience using the Oculus Rift. Although similar in terms of control, the experience is altered significantly by the sensation of actually wearing the space helmet with its corresponding HUD. In fact, whereas the HUD would clearly follow your view on PC, turning your head on the Oculus Rift would result in staring at some corner of your head covering while your body barreled with endless momentum. By the time the game comes out in September, I doubt I’ll have the VR tool, but I still intend on checking this mystifying FPX out now that my interest is piqued.