Symmetry – Sleepless Clinic Demo – PAX East 2017
Symmetry: Fight for Survival in Sleepless Clinic’s Latest Sci-Fi Title
Sleepless Clinic is no stranger to sci-fi games; in the past year alone, the Polish indie studio has released one title and has two more in development. At PAX East, Stack-Up got a sneak peek at one of these upcoming titles. Symmetry is a resource management survival game in which a team of eight scientists crash on a desolated planet. Facing harsh environments with no hope of rescue, the scientists must put their lives on the line to gather resources while trying to repair their spaceship. If only a mysterious predator would leave them alone…
Players will find most of Symmetry’s features familiar. Sleepless Clinic has adopted the time-tested controls of most resource management games, including a fast-forward mode to speed up the more tedious tasks. Handling food and energy consumption will keep you busy for most of the day; maintaining your half-busted machines will fill up most of what’s left. You’ll need to find time to keep your scientists alive (and healthy!) while also piecing your spaceship back together. With only three scientists to start with (the other five were stranded elsewhere, and find your settlement later on), you’re going to have your hands full.
However, the developers place a heavy emphasis on character and plot, and less on the day-to-day survival features most resource management games stick to. Instead of crafting bigger and better tools and defenses, players must learn new skills to get their scientists back on track. To learn a skill, the scientists need to study the environment and interact with each other; they must work together and become their own teachers.
You’ll need to keep each scientist healthy, both physically and mentally. Insomnia and trauma can seriously hurt your progress, or even destroy your chances altogether. You can spot any mental issues by the strange glitches the scientists and their equipment go through. Solve the issue quickly, or the problems will escalate fast.
Whether from hunger, the cold, or the mysterious predator, you’ll probably have at least one scientist die by the time you blast off. Since each survivor has at least one skill to use and share, a single death can seriously hurt your progress. You handle the dead in two ways: you can either bury them, or…well, meat is meat. While Sleepless Clinic says it’s technically possible to beat the game with one scientist left, the odds are stacked against it. On the barren world of Symmetry, a lone survivor is just a dead man walking.
Symmetry’s art seems ironically asymmetrical, like a slanted and stylized model of Happy Wheels. That said, the bare-bones look of the game helps stress the dire situation you’re trying to escape; there’s almost nothing left to sustain these castaways, so they need to get off this planet right now. The game’s music masterfully matches this tone.
Sleepless Clinic seemed reluctant to talk about plot since it’s apparently vital to the gameplay. However, the developers did tell Stack-Up that the game’s title refers to the scientists, and the predator(s) hunting them. Perhaps there’s more to these creatures than just animal instinct.
Symmetry will release on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One this May.