There is a genre of video games called the Adventure game. These kinds of games offer you stories with inventive puzzles to solve in-between the plot beats being feed to you. Some games like the recent TellTale titles focus more on the story while re-releases of Lucasarts classics like Grim Fandango & Day of the Tentacle show a nice blend of humor & puzzle solving.
Alone with You is a new PS Vita & PS4 game from Benjamin Rivers (Inc.) that tells the story of a lone survivor on a hostile planet on the brink of destruction. You and the AI of your main base come to the plan of talking to AI versions of workers across the planet in an effort to build an escape ship before the planet’s hostile climate kills you.
With a focus on using elements of the Adventure Gaming & Visual Novel Genre’s, does Alone with You stand out and do something special? Or does the game follow basic tropes of each genre without adding anything new?
The story takes place in the future, where mankind has ventured off to distant plants in an effort to find resources for the planet Earth. Humans visit a planet with valuable energy resources and are able to utilize it but after an event, most life on the this planet died.
Our main character has been holding on for along time with his/her only friend being an AI on the base. Both come to the conclusion they need to escape. To do this, they need to make repair an escape ship and help is needed. So you talk to AI versions of four characters.
To talk to the AI’s, you need to travel across the planet to find resources, items, tools and more to help plan your escape. What makes the story great in this game, is that the cast of characters is very strong. All of the four main AI characters have a lot of personality and interactions with them are great rewards for exploring the different parts of the planet every day. Your main AI partner is always with you and is great to talk with. You really get the impression both your player character and this AI are very close; seeing where the relationship goes as you get closer to escaping the planet is rewarding.
The world building in the game is fantastic as well, with details being both shown & told to you. That is key in understand the games setting, as you visually see the damage done to the world but can learn more about it from scanning interactive objects & talking with your AI buddy.
Overall, I loved the story in this game and seeing where every relationship goes for the different characters was very rewarding.
Gameplay & Design
Alone with You has a simple structure with two phases; the Adventure Game portion in the day & the Visual Novel portion during night.
The games Adventure portions has you moving around with the Analog Stick and solving simple puzzles to get supplies needed for your escape ship (interacting with X & scanning things with R). What makes these portions of the game rewarding is that the storytelling & the puzzle solving bend together greatly. Items you collect can be bought up during the conversations with the AI and the constant interaction between your friendly AI partner & the main character ensures that its never dull exploring the different locations.
The locations are varied too, with a Bio-Dome with a plant-based puzzle & exploring a mining location being places I remember quite well. What makes these Adventure portions more rewarding is that while the game never gets hard, the puzzles present more layers as you play through the game. This ensures you will always be thinking and that is important in the Adventure game genre. If you are having issue with the games puzzles, there is a hint system where the AI can help you solve puzzles with reminders of your main task (pressing L) or letting them help you if you get stuck.
Alone with You’s second portion is the Visual Novel sections where you talk to the four AI’s based on real people in the games world. They give you a lot of options regarding choices you can make with conversing with them. These portions is where Alone with You shines, as the dialog between you & these AI beings is written well. Every character has a distinct voice and the different options you have ensure every conversation is never the same upon repeated playthroughs. The overall gameplay here is simple at its core but still strong thanks to its two sides (Adventure & Visual Novel) being very polished and done well.
The main story will take you 7-12 hours but you can replay the game to see different reactions to dialog choices. But otherwise, the game is best enjoyed for a one-playthrough experience.
Alone with You is hands down one of the most beautiful pixel art games released on the PS Vita thus far. Its color choices and pallet are varied but with a lot of detail making every location dense & alive.
The character portraits having a lot of personality & detail, little animation cues when interacting with objects, and really well done animations for the main character look great on the Vita’s screen. The game running at a consistent frame rate and at native resolution should also be noted with the only performance issue being a slight stutter when the game auto-saves. Music adds to the games atmosphere and its alien-like sound matches the games world to a tie. You can find the official soundtrack here.
Alone with You is a breathtaking game that uses the pixel art style perfectly with a musical score that works well with the game.
Story – 4.5 out of 5 / Gameplay & Design – 4 out of 5 / Replay Value – 4 out of 5 / Presentation – 5 out 5
Alone with You is a game that uses traditional gameplay systems in the Adventure & Visual Novel Genres to create a touching, heartbreaking story of a lone survivor trying to find connection in a lonely world. With great visuals and well designed puzzles & mechanics, the game stands tall among other great adventure games. I highly recommend this game if you love the Adventure game genre or if you want to experience a touching story.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5
This game was reviewed on the PS Vita with a review copy provided by the games developer. You can also play this title on the PS4 and the is cross-buy (so if you by one version, you get both). The game is out now in both NA & EU PSN storefronts with the NA price being $9.99.