With a little inspiration from “The Martian” here and there and a touch of “Interstellar”, Phosphor games presents “Corpse of Discovery”, a game about exploring alien worlds and reflecting on life. Corpse of Discovery is a walking simulator set on six different(?) planets, which vary from deserts where sun radiation and sandstorms can kill you, to lush forests inhabited by peculiar life forms and more. Our hero is on a space mission to explore and document those distant worlds with the promise that when he returns, he and his family will be generously compensated and will be able to live a dream life forever after.
The first planet is the desert mentioned above, where our mission is to place some beacons so that the planet can be mapped for further research. Our hero wakes up in his bed in his base, where he lives and conducts or maintains various experiments. After listening to a message from his family he proceeds to the briefing station to get the details of his mission. He then sets out and activates an A.V.A. unit which had been dispatched to assist him in his mission. Since his landing shuttle was destroyed during the landing, the A.V.A. informs the hero that after the completion of his mission it is going to send a signal for a rescue ship. However, it turns out that signal failed to reach a receiver and since the A.V.A. has run out of power, our hero is doomed to die alone on this distant world.
After wandering in the desert and hallucinating (or maybe not), a mysterious demon-like being apparently kills him with an eye beam. After a few moments, our hero wakes up in the same bedroom as he did before. Everything is almost identical to the previous sequence, except for a few things that indicate the passage of time. What is more bizarre thought, is that the planet had completely changed after our hero’s apparent “death”. Well, this happens every time you complete your “last” mission on the planet. An endless return, something like a purgatory.
Each time you begin your mission, the A.V.A. has different things to say, which get more aggressive and more provocative as you move through the game, leading up to totally insane. However, each different speech she gives, makes you, the actual player, reflect upon various aspects of life. Your life as a partner, a parent, an employee and even a human being, what is and what is not important. A rather melancholic game, Corpse of Discovery is surely not what you expect it to be as a space game.
Moving on to the more “boring” and technical aspects of the game, I would like to note that I didn’t quite like the work on the graphics, at least on the outdoors environments. Inside the base, everything is very well done, but as soon as you head outside, the framerate drops and almost everything becomes kind of blurry, which I am not sure if it is intended due to the space helmet’s visor. My computer manages to run “heavier” games on relatively high graphic settings, but had trouble running this game on high settings.
The soundtrack however, was really good and while I would prefer to play it with music from the movies mentioned above, the game’s own music proved to be good enough. As for the mechanics, there were a few interactive elements such as using the jetpack and interacting with objects, but other than that the game relied upon exploring while avoiding enemies and direct narration from the A.V.A. and various other characters in order to tell its story. I finished the game in an evening and I can say that it was a relaxing and thought provoking experience, which provided me with enough food for thought for days.
Corpse of Discovery is available on Steam for 7,99€.
Corpse of Discovery is a walking simulator that relies heavily on exploration and narration to tell its story, while some of its elements are left (deliberately I believe) unclear and up to the player for interpretation. Being more a metaphor about life than a classic “space game”, Corpse of Discovery has to be one of the most unique titles I have ever played.
+ A game that makes you think
+ Variety of mechanis
– Not so impressive graphics
– Confusing story
Dimitris “Onel” Zarachanis