Take a journey to the final frontier…
Watch our review of the unusual indie space epic Exo One. Find out how this game breaks the mould, and why you should check it out today.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS, and welcome to our review of Exo One, a decidedly unusual looking game from developer Exbleative, aka Jay Weston. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and don’t forget to subscribe for more video game content every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it.
Running this channel, I play and review a lot of games. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining in the slightest, it’s an amazing excuse to check out titles that I might not have otherwise heard of. But after a while, you start to seek out the unusual, unique and weird games that attempt something different and try to break the mold.
That’s why I was very excited when I got to have a go at Exo One. At its core, it’s a very simple premise; you’re a deep space traveler, navigating alien landscapes in a shapeshifting craft, with a distant beam of light acting as your only waypoint. But the promise of unique gameplay mechanics, imaginative frontiers, and the fact this is all the work of one creator more than piqued my interest.
But does Exo One’s creative risks pay off, or does it bite off more than it can chew? Watch on to find out…
Although the gameplay might seem very simple on the surface, there’s a lot of nuance to it that makes it utterly engaging. At its core, you have to exploit and manipulate gravity to traverse the different landscapes, whether that be terrestrial, aquatic or aerial. You can transform your craft into a ball to zip down a cliff edge, flatten it into a disc to make the most of an updraft, or skim it across the surface of alien oceans.
It’s one of those things that you really need to experience to fully understand, but the sense of momentum and fluidity of motion is absolutely sublime.
In fact, so much emphasis is put on refining the raw gameplay, that there isn’t much in the way of superfluous challenge. You won’t find any enemies, time trials or anything else that might pull you out of the singular vision Exo One tries to convey. Now this might be a bit divisive, but for me, it really works to keep the experience immersive and preserves the tone of the narrative, which we’ll talk about in a little bit.
As for the visuals, they’re technically nothing we haven’t seen before. I think procedurally generated space epics like No Man’s Sky have made it hard for us to be shocked by any alien landscape anymore, but that isn’t to say they’re bad here, far from it. There’s a huge variety of terrains to navigate, ranging from sparse and haunting, to radiantly beautiful. But what really impressed me was the way they’re used to conjure atmosphere and tone. Not only do they help to convey this sense of oppressive loneliness in a seemingly empty universe, but also hide necessary game mechanics in a holistic way.
Likewise, the narrative is also largely told through organic, environmental exposition, and it’s fair to say it borrows a lot of influence from high concept sci-fi, like Interstellar and Arrival. This is by no means a bad thing, and if you’re into that sort of stuff, you’ll find yourself being moved by what is ostensibly a very minimalist plot. But even if it’s not something you’re into, it’s not really a big deal, as it’s the gameplay that rightfully takes centre stage. The story is just some albeit nice window dressing.
Exo One won’t be for everyone. It’s just as much an art piece as it is a video game, not compromising on the vision it sets out to deliver. I think it’ll be one of those titles that people who dig it will really like it, and I definitely consider myself in that category.
But more importantly, what did you think of Exo One? Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe for more video game content every single week, or you can always visit upsidedownshark.com to keep up with everything we’ve got going on.
Until then my name is Tom, we’ve been UDS, and we’ll see you next time.