Citizen Sleeper is a game inspired by tabletop RPGs. Set in deep space, we play as a sleeper – a human consciousness uploaded into a robot frame. Escaping a life of corporate slavery, we find ourselves on a space station full of outcasts and misfits, all just trying to get by. Though helping others, we can help ourselves in our mission of survival. But what even is it to live? That, ultimately, is up to us.
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If you play one horror game in your life, I believe it should be this one.
Explaining in too much detail why you should play SOMA runs the risk of ruining the reason that you should play SOMA, but I am going to give it a shot.
SOMA is a narrative experience like no other I have ever had. While it isn’t gameplay heavy, it is a classic example of a story thats impact is amplified due to the medium and the player input that brings.
In this game we play as Simon Jarrett, an ordinary young man who has suffered the misfortune of a brain injury. Taking part in some experimental treatment, Simon arrives to get his brain scan but it does not go as expected. As he comes to, it rapidly becomes clear that all is not how it seems.
This is a game of linear exploration. From a first person perspective, we guide Simon through an ordeal, moving forward through circumstances that are horrifying on a spectrum from deeply personal, to unfathomable.
If you are a person that does not enjoy playing horror games for reasons like jump scares, intensity and/or gore (like me), then all is not lost. While the atmosphere is indeed spooky, the most worthwhile aspects of the game come from the themes and events that can stay on your mind for weeks, as opposed to a cheap scare. To account for these people, the developers added a ‘Safe Mode’. This is how I played and it prevents any lose state, allowing you to be confident that you won’t lose any progress while you explore the environment (which I highly recommend doing to get all of the context).
SOMA is not a pleasant experience. It is haunting, dark and bleak. But, it is up there with the most thoughtful games I have ever played and I think about it on at least a monthly basis. It presents the player with choices that have no easy answer and deals with existentialism among other topics in very interesting ways. It is the only horror game that I would encourage anyone unsure to try to look past the genre, and if you are a horror fan? Turn off the lights, get fully immersed and enjoy.
Developer: Frictional Games Publisher: Frictional Games Release date: 22nd September 2015 Average play time: 10 hours Available on: PC, PlayStation (4, 5) and Xbox (One, Series X/S, Game Pass)