The Solus Project Review

The tribe has spoken, it's time for you to go.

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The Solus Project is a survival game with a mysterious story to tell. You play as an explorer who crash lands on an alien planet during a search for mankind's next home, and with your survival on the line, you have to traverse a strange, deserted world and find a way to communicate with other voyagers. Along the way, you discover the land isn't as benign as it first seemed; it houses numerous dark secrets. It's an interesting premise that's ripe for excitement and intensity; however, it doesn't come together in a satisfying story and is rarely, if ever, engrossing.

The world you're stranded on is bleak and desolate, and the area you explore is a collection of islands, so much of what you see are coastal areas with beaches and large cliffs. You'll also explore creepy caves, which are nigh impossible to navigate without a source of light. The environments don't look particularly outstanding, but some of the weather effects can deliver moments of awe. The first time I saw a tornado, I was left with my mouth open in astonishment. The weather can be daunting and dramatic, assisted by music that swells and crescendoes with the wind. Tornadoes are joined by meteor showers and lightning storms, but the danger of the extreme conditions was moot--it wasn't hard to avoid death at the hands of the vicious weather.

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The story is delivered through brief and infrequent monologues, and through stone tablets that your computer-like device translates. Much of the storytelling is also conveyed through audio logs your protagonist records. But despite the fact that you come across notably crazy sights, your character almost never acknowledges them when delivering her verbal assessments, focusing instead on minor, seemingly mundane details.

While there isn't any combat to speak of, you are in a constant battle to survive, and it's crucial that you stay on top of your hunger, thirst,fatigue, and body temperature. You regain health by sleeping or consuming special items. Monitoring temperatures is a critical task as it's easy to succumb to hypothermia or heat stroke, which can quickly put your life in jeopardy. With the right supplies, you can generate heat or cold as needed. Despite having to manage a host of physical conditions, survival comes easy as long as you pay attention, which unfortunately undermines any feelings of desperation the game attempts to evoke.

Your primary objective during missions is typically to get from point A to point B, and though you regularly come across puzzles or obstacles, they're usually easy to resolve. You have access to tools that can help you complete certain puzzles, like a hammer that can break down walls or a teleport device that shoots discs you can teleport to. Some puzzles can be solved through remembering patterns, while others require you to use the teleport device. However, my solutions often felt like I was cheesing my way through the game. In a lot of cases, I would hammer the jump button to slowly but surely make my way up a mountain or constantly shoot the teleporter discs until one finally made it through a crack or over a wall, which would allow me to teleport to them, then move on. Instead of feeling smart after solving a puzzle, I felt like I achieved the solution by pushing on something over and over until it worked.

At least the game's extreme weather conditions look awesome.
At least the game's extreme weather conditions look awesome.

Sometimes you're left to explore rather than chase a distinct objective, and this isn't immediately a bad thing, but The Solus Project does little to inspire you to roam the planet's open spaces. At best your curiosity is rewarded with supplies, tools, or slight stat improvements. I never found myself struggling to survive, so many of these items ended up sitting in my inventory. There are times when you come across items that seem initially useful--like a rope that can be used for climbing--but you may never find a practical use for it. The Solus Project pushes you to explore, but it fails to reward your efforts in meaningful ways.

The Solus Project tries to bring story and survival together in an engaging way, but it ultimately falters in this attempt. It has moments of wonder, but they're divided by what is mostly monotonous wandering from place to place. It's a disappointing game with a lot of missed potential, and it doesn't convey a good story or the rewarding feeling of surviving against the elements.

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The Good
Gorgeous weather effects
Creepy atmosphere
The Bad
Uninspiring exploration
Weak story
Dull survival mechanics
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mat completed The Solus Project in 10 hours. He explored for a bit and even tried out the experimental VR mode, though he got motion sick shortly after he started moving. GameSpot was provided with a copy of the game for the purpose of this review.
40 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Camoth2

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Edited By Camoth2

I'm really glad I didn't listen to this review but looked at the comments below and bought the game anyway. I'm loving it so far. I like that you can change the difficulty so you're not constantly foraging for food and water if you don't want to (I like the adventure element more than the survival element). It's exciting to unravel the secrets of this planet and venture further and further into the different areas and creepy caves without having to shoot or fight things.

I love the weather changes and having to run and look for cover when the creepy music that signals a typhoon is coming starts playing. I like to stumble upon areas or items that show there has been activity somewhere before you got there.... So far I just really enjoy this game. I really think this review does not do the game any justice at all.

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scymitar

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Edited By scymitar

You should not pay attention to this review, honestly. I played the game twice now, and it was worth every minute of it.

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Tron2007

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I've just tried it for a while, maybe a couple of hours or so, and so far it is a very immersive and fun game. I really like it, i don't think it deserves a simple 5 out of 10, maybe a 7 could be more accurate to what it offers. I think it's a really good game all in all, and even better for the price of 20 dollars. Give it a try, really. Maybe it's not the best game of history, but it's something different and fun. Not good for those of you addicted to adrenaline, but to those who like the paused gameplay and exploration set ups it's a must play. Thumbs up!

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silent1121

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Does anyone actually enjoy games anymore instead of just tearing them apart...so sick of readin reviews where all the reviewer does is fuckn complain...nothing ever satisfies these losers they have write these reviews...I just bought the game and it's exciting to me so take your negative ass somewhere else you shouldn't be writing reviews cuz it seems to me that u just dnt like video games

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randage3400

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I would totally buy this game if it was The Mordin Solus Project..

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Dark_Matters

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I usually hate when people do this, but in this case I think it's warranted.:The reviewer doesn't get the game.

This review also seems far out of step with other reviews, so this seems like it was just a very bad fit.

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killersushi

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Edited By killersushi

Fix your delete button ("oops something happened").

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killersushi

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What a dick review. Sometimes I don't even know reviewers are aware of the immense work involved in making a game with a tiny team, or in general. Years they've spent on this and you can find nothing better to do with your life than to professionally destroy in a few lines of text the work of people that have poured their heart and soul into something you won't ever get close to accomplishing.

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sakaiXx

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@killersushi: its late but just because its a small team and spend years to make the game doesnt mean it should be reviewed differently.

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killersushi

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@sakaixx: True, but the point is that this review is well below the average rating and it hurts the devs for no reason other than this guy showing off his supposed knowledge of games ('disappointing game with a lot of missed potential').

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Bladerunner

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@killersushi: he is total dick I agree, game with over 50 hours with VR support for 20bucks...

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Fumples

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@killersushi: Just because Duke Nukem Forever took 12 years to make doesn't automatically make it a great game.

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StHapns247

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@killersushi: Welcome to the point of reviews.

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TheParaside

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Edited By TheParaside

Did this reviewer expect an AAA game or something? It costs like £15! The devs even say they're a team of like 5 people who spent three years making the game, partly in their spare time. This review seems way harsh.

Also calling it a survival game doesn't really paint it accurately. It's more like an adventure game with some survival elements.

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Gamer_4_Fun

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Edited By Gamer_4_Fun

I played the game a few days ago, it is not spectacular but a very well made survival game. I can't comprehend this review. Also I never seen this reviewer around before lol.

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wrenchse

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Hi Guys!

One of the devs here.
About this review, it mostly sounds like the "wrong" person played the game. :) It's not really a survival game in the same vein as The Forest. It is more a like the old PC game The Dig, mixed with Unreal with some survival mechanics added for urgency. I can absolutely see why Mat did not like it, but that might also be because it is not his kind of game. People either seem to love it or hate it. A 5 is by far the lowest score we have gotten so far - averaging around 8.

Some people are mentioning the Steam reviews, and I'd like to add that we'd easily be above 90% on Steam if it was not for all the negative VR reviews we have gotten because we added VR support at a too early stage. Around 60-70 percent of the negative user reviews are about VR. We are still polishing on that and will push a VR update this weekend making the experience much better!

Anyhow, for a zero budget indie game made by less than 10 people, that is also only 20 bucks, we are pretty damn proud of it nevertheless. :D

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Bladerunner

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Edited By Bladerunner

@wrenchse: Hi wrenchse,

You said it right, this half/ CoD reviewer played only 10 hours?! I played smt. like 50 with all possible exploration! For 20 bucks with VR support?? One of the best deals this year. He knows shit, you ve made masterpiece with your budget/staff limitations, be proud! 8/10 at least! all the best

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tonyleo01

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@wrenchse: Hey! Wanted to say I've been following you guys for a while. I even bought one of the early The Solus Project UE4 tutorials! I'm ashamed to say that I haven't played the game yet, but I'm now looking forward to your VR update this weekend :D

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mpl911

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Edited By mpl911

@wrenchse: I got this on the Game Preview programme on the "One". I put in at least 30 hours or so, and would definitely give it a much better score than 5. I'd give it at least an 8. It's a lot of fun, and, occasional (but very rare) frame stutters ignored, can really be immersive.

I'm a bit sad this only got a 5 here, because the support that devs have shown on this game over on steam is quite unique...you normally get quick and informative responses from the guys that actually made this game. There are still some more "chapters" to come out too, lengthening your enjoyment of the game and adding to its value. Pretty sure this was only about £17 or £18 on the Game Preview programme although I don't know what it costs now.

It's not really a survival game like state of decay or 7 days...more of a sci-fi adventure/exploration game, with some survival aspects (eat, drink, sleep and watch your body temperature basically). It gives a very vivid impression of really being the last guy alive in the universe and the only human on the planet. There's a real sense of isolation.

For what it's worth, I'd definitely recommend this game...8 / 10...if only to see what the devs can make next.

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rasdor1

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@mpl911: Man I only have like 5 hours on it for my xbox. I need to play more but I haven't touched it in awhile. Though so far love it I think its a good game. I hate when it storms though always afraid of tornadoes.

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mpl911

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@rasdor1: Wait until you get to the meteor showers then - basically if you're outside, you die and that's it.

Anyway - enjoy - this is a very underrated (on GS anyway) game.

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Njco74

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Edited By Njco74

@wrenchse: Hey its not Call of Duty or Dark Souls that is why GS rated so low. I am really enjoying it and it is actually the first game that me and my son are playing together so well done and keep up the good work because it is a good game.

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Nightmare350

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@wrenchse: keep up the good work!

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deactivated-5a0b0bf0c8fa5

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@wrenchse: Actually sounds pretty cool.

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Zzshock

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@wrenchse: i was just about to unpin it from my xb1 wishlist but, after reading your post, i have reconsidered. I look forward to giving it a shot in the near future!

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REVIEWLIES

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mediocredade nowadays is normal.

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Gelugon_baat

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@EducatingU_PCMR: @walidras:

The reviewer may be having rather high expectations from this game here.

On the other hand, I would say here that Steam user reviews can't really be relied on nowadays. Steam's userbase is loaded with fools who write with their early impressions instead of coming up with their opinion after having reached catharsis.

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Gelugon_baat

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Why bother with having a rope in the game when there is the teleportation disc?

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EducatingU_PCMR

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Edited By EducatingU_PCMR

80% metacritic and 80% postive reviews scores on Steam.

It's from the same guys that made The Ball btw.

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Cappy

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Edited By Cappy

@EducatingU_PCMR: thanks for adding that. I was not going to give it much more thought but perhaps will check out some other reviews.

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JohnHolmes

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@EducatingU_PCMR: There are other opinions? Thanks we would've never figured that out. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.......Are you Cpt. Obvious?

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loafofgame

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@johnholmes: When you spend some time in comment sections and witness the way some people seem to pass judgement based on one review or even one score, I don't blame the OP for mentioning that there are other opinions out there, no matter how obvious that is.

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xantufrog

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Edited By xantufrog  Moderator

I've been writing some lengthy perspectives on the game in my GS blog. I haven't finished it (Too many games to play!), but for what it's worth, my opinion thus far is much more favorable. I do have some distinct nits to pick, but from what I have played so far I'd definitely recommend it. In my opinion the story is a soft overlay, meant to provide a context to the survival game, not to change it into a narrative-driven experience (and then failing). Similarly, the impetus for exploration is survival. I think from a survival game perspective, it shines because the survival mechanics are framed by these two things (other survival games I have played have not done these as elegantly, IMO).

Meh, different opinions are the spice of life

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rasdor1

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@xantufrog: I was going to say this, but you said it like 1000 times better then I could.

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Gelugon_baat

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@xantufrog: I would say that if you have this game in your library, you ought to have played it longer first.

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xantufrog

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Edited By xantufrog  Moderator

@Gelugon_baat: you have an opinion for everything, including frequently when you haven't played the game at all (citing instead your impressions from watching youtube vids etc), and here you are lecturing me?

1) I didn't say how long I had played it for - FYI, I've played it almost as long as this reviewer, since he only put 10 hours into it

2) I didn't write a review on it yet, or give it any score, and I clearly qualified my above recommendation by noting I haven't finished it yet

3) If you actually look at the blog posts I mentioned, what you will find is not a review with a score but what I have described as "active impressions" - it is clearly not being presented as a finished product review, but is intended as a discussion piece about the game as I work my way through it.

I'm sorry you are concerned about my heavily qualified "I'd recommend it so far" up above, but I hope others find my shared experiences in my blog useful.

*edit - oh, just to be clear, I'm not b*tching about the score or some nonsense; I'm simply saying that I'm surprised by this reaction to the game, and offering up a different opinion. Nobody is going to have the same opinion of every game as everyone else

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AvatarAlpha

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@xantufrog: Gelugon_baat is an interesting phenomenon, xantufrog. Ive watched him/her/it over the years, and have noticed the vociferous intensity and frequency of the comments made, as well as their conceited nature. The word "troll" comes to mind, but true trolls are often humerous or silly and somewhat entertaining in their doltish behaviour, inadvertant or otherwise; Gelugon is none of those things.

Personaly, and I know my feelings are shared by hundreds of other members here judging by the extreme dislike shown toward Gelugon over the years, I get a distinctly unpleasant feeling when reading most of the comments Gelugon makes. When one considers the more than 21 THOUSAND posts and almost 500 personal reviews Gelugon has made over the years, its safe to say GameSpot is this person's whole life and raison d'etre, perhaps even more so than actually playing the games. It's also safe to say Gelugon is obsessed, has a few emotional and/or psychological issues and feels entitled in shoving their unwanted opinions down everyone's throats. And I mean everyone, judging from the sheer lunatic frequency of those posts.

Which is fine I suppose, everyone needs a hobby or outlet but the old adage "dont shit where you eat" comes to mind here. You reading this, Gelugon_baat? Take your shit elsewhere because we don't want it :)

So we're with you, xantufrog. Gelugon_baat is a cancer GameSpot would certainly be better off without, but my advice is try ignore him/her/it. I have, until now :)

Aaand incoming in 3, 2, 1...

The Solus Project More Info

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  • First Released Feb 18, 2016
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    The Solus Project is a first-person single-player survival game, headed to PC and as a console exclusive to Xbox One.
    7.2
    Average Rating17 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate The Solus Project
    Developed by:
    Grip Games
    Published by:
    Teotl Studios, Grip Games
    Genre(s):
    Action, VR
    Theme(s):
    VR
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Blood, Violence