Unique, colourful lucid explorer provides enthralling exploration.
In 0°N 0°W, there’s no combat, no items, no death. What there is, however, is more colour than a preschooler’s finger painting, and almost as much randomness.
That doesn’t mean that 0°N 0°W doesn’t look amazing; it certainly does. When the entire aspect of a game is exploration through a surreal, stimulating fantastical universe, the visuals can’t afford to disappoint. 0°N 0°W inspired many thoughts in me, and disappointment wasn’t one of them.
0°N 0°W starts with a lone man on a cross-country road trip (which, somewhat strangely, is portrayed in real-life footage at the beginning of the game). Eventually you come across a strange town, and that’s where the real exploration begins. Soon you’ll be confronted with a seemingly never-ending series of doors (kind of like that scene in The Matrix). While there are no quests or goals in the game, the developers tease, “walk to the very edge of the world to see what happens…” (no spoilers here).
Beyond each door lays a new and bizarre handcrafted area that is procedurally generated. You’ll encounter everything from beautiful neon Tron-like cityscapes to dark, rocky wildernesses. 0°N 0°W is truly unique in this aspect. I’ve never encountered such a concoction of landscapes and antithetical levels before.
Each level has a door that allows you to progress onto the next – sometimes these will be obvious, other times not so much. If you’re in a particularly large level and find yourself completely lost, as I did whilst exploring the streets of an urban level, you can hit the menu button and warp to the next area.
The audio in the game is, in parts, as enthralling as the visuals. There are over seven hours of original music in 0°N 0°W, and it truly matches the atmosphere. Some of the sound effects were recorded from natural or urban environments, and it shows. In a bad way. I was walking through a level which can most accurately be described as the aquatic-apocalyptic Waterworld, with sound effects that were obviously recorded from someone running the shower.
The keyboard and mouse controls in 0°N 0°W I found to be overly sensitive when panning across the fantastic scenery and not the best way to enjoy the game. If you’ve got a controller, you might find that much easier. Though there aren’t that many controls – with only move/look, sprint and jump.
For me, each door in 0°N 0°W had such a strong allure, pulling me practically inescapably towards the mysterious, unique new level that lurks behind it. Whether it’s a relatively normal looking room with a bookcase, chairs and a TV leading onto a plateau of floating rocks or a peculiar land of colour aplenty and no land, I was always captivated by what I found.
The game will release on 1st March 2018, and you can already add 0°N 0°W to your Steam wishlist.
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