PLAION and Playcorp Studios invite us to embark on a survival and crafting adventure on a planet recharged with color.
Every once in a while, when I enter a gaming universe – without thinking much about it – a word remains resonating in my head. It hadn’t happened to me in a long time, but with Beyond Contact it was almost immediate. The word “Perseverance” stuck to me and the more I got into the story, gameplay and even development, the more sense it made.
For those who don’t know, Beyond Contact it was in early access for over a year and during all that time, the developers constantly worked with a select group of players to make all the necessary adjustments, improvements and changes to make it a solid project. By itself, creating a video game implies a lot of perseverance. These are processes that take years and require constant work, even post-launch. But, listening to user feedback and implementing it shows the desire to give your best possible version. This is also portrayed in the story that is presented to us and in its gameplay.
It is the year 2766 and we are in the skin of the researcher Quinn Hicksan elite member of the Space Corpsthe expeditionary arm of the UWC. Our team receives a wake-up call from the planet capsize, which is falling apart due to an energy that corrupts it from its core and threatens the lives of its inhabitants. As we are the closest, we go to their aid, but during the landing Dr. Hicks crashes and wakes to find the ship completely destroyed and no members of her team in sight.
Beyond Contact’s premise – find our team and save the planet – is simple, but not easy. And here the perseverance in the fight for Hicks. Not only for surviving, but also for finding her companions – despite not being sure they are alive – and for facing an enemy out of her reach, being an intellectual and not a soldier. All this in an unknown, hostile place and without the necessary training/preparation.
To fulfill the goal of the game we will need to scan every resource that comes our way and thus be able to use it in our favor. From plants to minerals, killer bugs and intergalactic trash, everything will serve to maintain our three life bars (health, energy and oxygen) in optimal conditions using the crafting option.
This is the most important – and enjoyable – point of the entire video game. The possibilities of construction are enormous and thanks to the freedom that the story gives us, we can create and advance as we see fit. We have the option of manufacturing floors, walls, protective fences and different types of machinery for our base. As well as nets to capture enemies, thermal lamps to avoid freezing to death, weapons, armor and many other things.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that we must do everything intelligently since even the environment itself will try to kill us. At any time a frost can occur that annihilates our crops, or a torrential rain can leak water into the base and damage our machines, if we do not mount the walls correctly. So it’s time to use everything you’ve learned with the Sims and be extremely cautious with our builds.
Still, for those who aren’t devoted to crafting, Beyond Contact offers other game modes. Apart from the optionHistory” that we already know, is that of “Conquest”, where you can enjoy the combat part more. Although we have quite basic and weak weapons such as a saber, a pick and a shovel, here much more emphasis is placed on the battles with the enemies, since the purpose is to gradually recover spaces until the entire planet is conquered.
Both “Story” and “Conquest” can be configured to play alone or to allow other online players to enter our game to give us a hand. In the same way, we can enter the games that we find under the “Join game”, to complete small missions, lend a hand and at the same time gain experience points to level up and receive skill points. At first it all seemed a bit confusing and I had to use the built-in chat to talk to the person I invaded the game with and have them explain the system to me, but it turned out to be a great experience and I made a virtual friend.
Apart from the Dra. Hickswe have the possibility to play with two other characters. Kangaha warrior of the kind Horn who was rescued by the Space Corps and now he seeks to pay off his debt as a security officer, and Zainean architect expert in the fortification of structures. Both can be purchased using the credits that are given to us for completing daily missions. Nothing very complex, simple tasks like crafting a specific item or defeating a certain specimen. All three have special features and extensive skill trees that we must unlock to increase our crafting expertise and expand the repertoire of elements that we can manufacture for our base.
It is necessary to emphasize that Beyond Contact It has weak points that, after having been in early access for more than a year, cannot be ignored. For a start, This is a simple story, basic even, that at no time does it reach depth or with what happens in capsizenor with its inhabitants, the lost companions of Hicks, nor with herself in the experience that she has to live. The premise is an excuse to put ourselves in a context and show off the gameplay.
On the other hand, the beginning part can feel really overwhelming. The tutorial is so basic, that when it lets go of our hand there are too many options and information to assimilate (especially in the construction part) that for many it can be discouraging. The map – our supposed guide and ally – is extremely confusingand by not using texts to indicate the marked places, one has to be deciphering them as one goes along.
Finally, I must warn you that button mapping is unintuitive and sometimes it even goes against the physical memory that fans of the genre already have. Accessing certain menus or elements that should be at hand is tedious and wastes a lot of time, which harms the player in risky situations (enemy attacks or unexpected natural disasters).
Throughout my journey in capsize I felt that Beyond Contact It had perseverance as its emblem and I found it funny that even – for all of the above – the player also has to be persevering to be able to get into and familiarize themselves with the game. I know, it’s not ideal. An adventure should hook you from the start. But believe me that If you are a fan of this genre, the range of possibilities it offers makes it worth the wait., since we will be building hours and hours without stopping. It may sound a bit optimistic, but I trust the promise of the developers to continue to improve the user experience and provide new content. I look forward to new journeys in Ketern and other planets.
Beyond Contact was released on April 04, 2023. I played it on PC via Steam for over 20 hours.