CLOSE TO THE SUN
This survival horror is more than just a BioShock lookalike
Those that have limped and dragged their way through the entire catalogue of survival horror games available on Xbox, and are now searching for something new, need look no further. Storm In A Teacup is brewing up something special just for you.
Close To The Sun is a first-person, story-driven survival horror set towards the end of the 19th century in an alternate timeline where, instead of being shunned, Nikola Tesla, with his brilliant mind, has become a huge worldwide success. His energy company, Wardenclyffe, now provides energy to half the globe and his thirst for advancing mankind has led him to create the Helios. Sailing across the ocean between nations, this colossal ship complex was designed as a place where the greatest scientific minds could gather and further their scientific endeavours unhindered.
If from the screenshots and that description you’re already getting
BioShock vibes, you’re not the only one. The developers are hyper-aware of the comparison and even consider it a compliment. They stress, however, that their initial inspirations were games like Soma and Outlast and that the similarities to BioShock are simply a result of setting the game in that time period and choosing an Art Deco style design.
You play as journalist Rose Archer, who after receiving a strange letter from her sister, Ada, which contained a mysterious electronic device and a desperate call for help, heads to the Helios on a rescue mission.
Arriving by boat you realise that something has gone terribly wrong. The ship has been deserted and is for some reason under a strict quarantine. The electronic device you received reveals itself to be some kind of radio when your sister contacts you through it. Ada is a prominent scientist on board the Helios and developed the device just for you. Interestingly, she seems surprised that you’re there and has no memory of writing the letter to you, but goes on to explain that it’s entirely possible she wrote it. She says she’ll explain later, which we think could mean that there’s an element of time travel in the game.
There are no weapons or direct combat elements within Close To The
Sun. Half of your time will be spent exploring the Helios, looking for clues and trying to uncover its secrets so that you can save your sister. The other half will be spent running, hiding and being terrified because there are other strange things lurking around the ship that really want to kill you. You’ll need to think quickly to survive as you’ll find yourself in various chase sequences and one false move could spell your demise.
Nikola Tesla is also on board the ship and is aware of your arrival. All the success and power has clearly gone to his head and made him extremely egotistical. The golden statue in the middle of a museum dedicated to him on board is a dead giveaway. It’s also made him paranoid and, believing you to be a spy for Thomas Edison, closes you off from most of the ship. You’ll need to navigate and solve environmental puzzles to progress.
Although they’re dedicated to scaring the hell out of us, the developers also want to tell a compelling story. Even if it has its fair share of similarities with BioShock, both visual and narrative, it’s very much its own entity. For starters it’s a lot bloodier: at one point we find ourselves on our knees within a room where a nasty massacre occurred. ■
“Even if it has similarities with BioShock, it’s very much its own entity”
It is said that Nikola Tesla himself was born during a lightning storm