Fort Solis – More of a “Crawling Simulator” Than a “Walking Simulator”

REVIEW – Fort Solis offers a fresh narrative adventure, promising excitement and suspense as we traverse an alien planet with our protagonist. While it certainly has its strengths in interactive storytelling, it raises the question: is the minimalist gameplay enough to warrant our time and resources? Read on to find out!



Fort Solis falls into the growing category of Mars simulators. The game focuses almost exclusively on walking—our heroes spend 99% of the gameplay simply walking around—and in that regard, it offers little more than games like Firewatch. But what sets it apart? For one, the stunning visual presentation, and secondly, characters brought to life by renowned voice actors like Troy Baker.


Az indie stúdió, a Fallen Leaf bemutatta Fort Solis című sci-fi thriller játékát Troy Bakerrel és Roger Clarkkal a főszerepben.


More of an Interactive Story Than a Game


Fort Solis can hardly be considered a traditional game; it’s more like an interactive, sci-fi thriller. It’s like a movie where you occasionally have to press some buttons. However, it falls short of the atmosphere in bigger film productions, and once you finish the story, there’s little else to do.

The events unfold on Mars, where we meet the two main characters, Jack and Jessica. The two engineers are part of a mining mission but soon become involved in much more ominous events. The situation becomes critical when they receive a security alert from the Fort Solis base during a storm. Jack, pondering his vacation plans, decides to investigate, setting off a tragic chain of events.

Even though the pace picks up once Jack enters the facility, the experience somehow remains lackluster. Every narrative twist feels familiar, as if borrowed from other games or movies. The story isn’t bad, but it’s predictable, and it seems the developers couldn’t resist the allure of clichés.



Odd Design Choices


While tension could be a key element of the game, it’s often overshadowed by peculiar design decisions. For example, the characters’ behavior is surprisingly static. Regardless of the dangers or dramatic events they face, they don’t react in any meaningful way beyond dialogue. They continue to walk leisurely, even when discovering ominous blood puddles or dead colleagues.

Sometimes scripted events do trigger a running sequence, but these are exceedingly rare. Typically, they spend more time browsing personal diaries, watching video recordings, or rummaging through other people’s belongings. And this remains the case even when the gameplay should be at its most tense; they move as leisurely as if they were visiting a historical site, not a perilous environment.



Emotional Impact Converges to Zero


Due to the characters’ one-dimensional behavior and the narrative structure crafted by the developers, it’s hard to empathize with them, despite excellent voice acting. Attempts to generate excitement and a sense of loss generally fail; the emotional response elicited from the player is essentially negligible. Even the game’s conclusion leaves something to be desired, failing to ramp up the tension.

This is exacerbated by the game’s limited mechanics. Most interactions involve computers and reports. There are quick-time events, but they have little real impact if you fail to press the right buttons in time. The events unfold as envisioned by the developers.

The game doesn’t offer real puzzles or challenges. You only need to collect a couple of obvious items or find a few codes to access certain terminals. By collecting posters, banners, audio and video logs, and emails, we try to piece together the backstory and the causes of events, but even this fails to sustain our interest.



The Essence is Missing


Although the developers have evidently put in considerable work into crafting the game’s atmosphere and narrative, they failed to convey the essential elements. Various interactions, which could have been the heart and soul of the game, don’t contribute to the overall picture. As a result, the experience feels monotonous, like endless dark corridors filled with computers and more corridors.

The game’s pace slows down to a crawl, and by the end, it feels like the length has been artificially extended to about four hours. If you miss a collectible, you can go back to find it, but what’s the point? The game lacks the flavor or appeal that would make you want to return.

The graphics are generally beautiful and detailed, which is surprising considering it’s developed by a 10-person team. However, there are times when the frame rate drops unexpectedly, and quick-time events linger on the screen even after the scene is over. Despite excellent voice acting, flat and uninspiring dialogues ruin the overall impression.



Fort Solis: Missing Elements, Wasted Opportunities


I’m a fan of interactive dramas, but Fort Solis is a disappointment even for me. Despite its enormous potential, the game feels empty, and not even the efforts of Troy Baker and his colleagues can establish an emotional connection with the players. This is not even a popcorn movie that you’d enjoy if you were terribly bored. It’s an experience that is visually flawless but so shallow and uneventful that it offers no compelling reason to invest your time.



+ Excellent voice acting
+ Unique visual style
+ Persuasive animations


– Almost zero gameplay
– Drag tempo
– Short playing time

Publisher: Fallen Leaf

Developer: Dear Villagers

Style: “Adventure Game”

Release: August 22, 2023.

Fort Solis

Gameplay - 1.2
Graphics - 5.8
Story - 5.6
Music/Audio - 6.8
Ambience - 3.2



The narrative strengths of Fort Solis, such as the excellent voice acting and the striking visual style, unfortunately cannot outweigh the game's weak points. Due to the extremely simplified gameplay and slow pace, the plot doesn't really take off; in addition, the short playtime and clichéd story elements further deteriorate the overall experience. The end result is a disappointing experience that offers little even to fans of interactive dramas.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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