Nintendad

[Preview] Close to the Sun

It’s hot in here, we must be getting Close to the Sun!!

Wired Productions have a fair amount of Je ne sais quoi about them. They really know how to push the hardware of the Nintendo Switch to it’s limits. This was evident in their previous release – GRIP: Combat Racing a technical triumph and a riot of a game to boot.

Close to the Sun sees Wired Productions partner with Storm in a Teacup this time out. Storm in a Teacup are a studio based in Rome, renowned for creating stylised games. Close to the Sun is no different, offering personality in abundance. Furthermore, it offers an opulent gaming experience that pushes the Nintendo Switch to the threshold of it’s limits.

Close to the Sun starts with our protagonist, Rose, receiving a letter from her sister to join her aboard the Helios, a grand ship that serves as Nikola Tesla’s hub of sceintific creativity. What could possibly go wrong in this scenario?

When Rose arrives aboard, the ship is utterly abandoned and derelict to the point of intrigue. What has occurred here? And where is Rose’s sister, Ada?

Close to the pun

Close to the Sun captures the isolation of the environment that Rose finds herself in to a chilling level. The premise of the walking sim lends itself perfectly to Close to the sun. What Storm in a Teacup have created is a tense, edgy affair that will have you questioning nearly everything and occasionally jumping from your seat. In a way, the gameplay is reminiscent of >Observer, in that you discover more of the story as you explore the enclosed locale in which you have been placed. Not knowing anything about the events that have transpired, leading to the situation all adds intricate layers of suspense as you unravel the mysteries of the Helios.

Close to the meat

Admittedly, Close to the Sun looks a little rough around the edges when docked. Textures appear jagged and rough; likely a necessary sacrifice for the consistent frame rate. In handheld mode however, it really shines. Wired Productions have done a great job getting a game this atmospheric, running so well on Nintendo’s handheld system. The lighting was also of stark contrast dependent on ply style. In handheld, everything popped and looked clear. Again, when docked, environemets seemed a little muddy and dull.

Sound plays a huge part in such atmosphere driven games and fortunately I was handed a set of headphones to use while playing the demo. The little sound effects and nuances all worked in perfect tandem to further the feeling of solitary and suspense.

Close to the Sun will launch on Nintendo Switch in the near future. At the time of writing, a release date is yet to be confirmed but I understand that an announcement is imminent.

Thanks to Storm in a Teacup and Wired Productions for taking the time to show me Close to the Sun at Gamescom.

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