InSomnia is the latest RPG from indie developer Studio MONO which has both co-op play and a single-player campaign. The developers, who are no stranger to the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, are once again back at it with a campaign to support the 100% funding of this game. You can find the Kickstarter here to check out all of the details as well as all of the pledge rewards they are offering to backers.
The overall premise of the game is set in a dystopian, hellish future which pairs well with the over all “retro-futuristic” style of the environment. We at DHTG were given the opportunity to play the InSomnia Prologue chapter, which is simply meant as an introduction to the game so it is not a true reflection on how the title will be upon full release. As the game begins, the player will take on the role of Typer, which MONO teased may be a possible companion in the future of the game.
The main game itself will feature a survivor that finds himself waking up in a cryogenic containment cell and seeing the devastation that remains of a listless and seemingly abandoned space station. The story will be a wild one, it follows the journey of a conglomerate of people, the Nomah, fleeing a dying planet in hopes restoring mankind. The journey shown is a long one – the people moving towards a distant Evacuation Point spanning over 400 years in a deadly mission to achieve their goal.
With the Prologue, the player gains the perspective of Typer, whose timeline takes place before the main character wakes up from his cryogenic stasis. The purpose of Typer is to let the player become accustomed to the overall mechanics of InSomnia as well as a prelude to the events of the main game itself. Much like a prologue in a movie or book, it is simply meant to be an introduction to the larger body of work.
This game will be a real-time, open world “sandbox” RPG that is not linear and will have ultra realistic aspects to it such as survival and combat basics. The game features a nonlinear story-line that will open up to quests that the player can choose to take on as well as multiple outcomes for how the player reacts in certain situations. Decision making, puzzles, and hidden treasures throughout the game will engage the player to explore and strive for 100% completion in this massive world.
Much like many apocalyptic games of this genre, the overall tones of the game are dark, broken, and destitute. The art style blends futuristic style flawlessly with a retro twist. With the colours, the music, and the overall ambiance – MONO did achieve the perfect dystopian feel that they were going for.
It is important to note that this feature is about gameplay that is still considered pre-alpha, not the full game as it will be in the final stages. The idea behind the game is an intriguing one, at first glance it reminded me instantly of the first Bioshock with littering aspects reminiscent of the Fallout games. Pair that with the main character emerging from a cryogenic chamber, it definitely brought me back to my Fallout 4 days.
Graphically, especially being in Alpha stage, the game is promising. Other than a few shading issues, the graphics and overall presentation was on point for the desired affect. The enviromentals were grimy, giving an overall feeling of hopelessness and gritty survival with enough detail to keep the player captivated.
When I first watched the opening, I was instantly enthralled. The game, as previously mentioned, is very reminiscent of other popular titles on the market and ones that I am a fan of. As the opening trailer came to a close, I found myself as a scruffy man by the name of Typer in an abandoned room while a telephone shrilled in the distance awaiting to give me further instructions.
The mechanics are extremely choppy and inconsistent. As a primarily PC gamer, it killed me to admit that this would almost play better with a controller but with the slightly delayed mechanics and off-kilter movement of the character himself, I feel as though a controller may over a little more maneuverability within the game. It is pre-alpha though, so I am hopeful that the developers will fix those issues prior to full release.
The direction of the game, especially when quests begin piling into the log, is essentially non-existent at this stage of development. If someone was new to this genre, they would feel incredibly lost without any sort of indicators as to where to go and in what order. A mini-map does wonders when wanting to appeal to all players on the gaming skill spectrum. It is a non-linear storyline, so an in-detail directional sense isn’t obligatory, but opting out of any sort of indication will turn off a lot of the more casual gamers looking to check out InSomnia.
The dialogue when speaking to other characters, both essential and non-essential NPCs, is spectacular. The writers of the game knew what they were doing with achieving a balanced dialogue with many different character types. Whether it was with the man in the training room for melee, or the robot at the gun range – each character represented in this introductory chapter had a distinct personality with an array of responses from the player to choose from. In true RPG format, the player can choose to respond sarcastically, cruelly, or as a more patient character which is critical when wanting to achieve the realism that MONO is looking for. There were more than a few times where the dialogue with other characters as well as hearing background conversations had me cracking up. “My pockets are as pure as an Urn-born’s bottom, which is exactly why I’m stopping by to buy something.” Little conversational pieces like that effortlessly blend in the history of the game with current humor; excellently executed.
Overall the game, at this stage, shows a lot of potential. Graphically, it is appealing and it is obviously rich in historical storyline. The prologue did not offer any outstanding tales of heroics, but as an introductory chapter, that’s understandable. The inability to control the camera direction was off putting, which for a game that demands exploration is a detail that I see as important to overall gameplay. The limited mobility of the character got old really fast: the back and forth movement is static, there is no jumping capability, and the dodging is half-baked at best.
With the combat, aiming any type of gun is extremely basic. The control of the aim itself is nearly non-existent so when the player is engaged in rapid fire combat, the mechanics of the gun fire work against the character’s favour. The range on a supposed ranged weapon is noticeably limited, as well. On the melee side of combat, the delay between the command of an action and when that action is actually executed is slow and not a smooth transition at all. In a game that pits the player against a wide range of enemies, the combat style missed the realistic mark and went straight into poor mechanical execution.
I am intrigued as to the future of the game and what direction they will be going in with the new character implemented in the first chapter. I do hope that as the development of the game itself comes to a close that they fix a lot of the mechanical issues that are prevalent through this alpha. It’s always difficult to appropriately gauge a game’s integrity this early in the development stages, but with what I’ve seen so far of InSomnia, the potential is there. As an RPG fan, I will be delving more into this title as the release date becomes closer. The game is still in development stages and there is no release date at this time.
You can find out more about the storyline, the characters, and the history of the game at their official Kickstarter page, which is still open for backers until May 27th. You can also find a download for the Prologue to check it out for yourself.
Make sure to check out our actual in-game gameplay in the video below: