On Reddit Observation was mentioned by a poster in the same sentence as What Remains of Edith Finch which immediately got me interested in playing it. I thus downloaded it and played the first section and had mentally filed it in seems good so far I’ll definitely keep playing. The next day I discover it is being removed from gamepass in 2 weeks so the impetus to get it played sooner rather than later is there. Note I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it so much I wanted to share it so others can play before it leaves gamepass (I think I’m about halfway through).
You start out on a space station with Emma, the ship’s doctor, instructing you in what she needs you to do. Initially you can only access a few fixed cameras and you can use these to interact with objects in the environment. A bit later on you get access to a mobile camera which allows you access to other areas, including the ability to space walk.
Gameplay consists of finding specific objects in the spaceship and then solving puzzles to fix various pieces of equipment. Some of these puzzles are timed but you can have multiple attempts without penalty. Initially I was worried the game was going to be an action game like Deliver Us The Moon but that doesn’t seem to be the case. There is an early puzzle that I failed and it didn’t make me replay it but it doesn’t seem to have caused any issues later on. Other puzzles involve remembering information and inputting it or collecting items and combining them together. None of the puzzles so far have been difficult, the main draw is the story. Although the puzzles are not difficult in and of themselves the controls can be a bit complicated. There are lots of things you can do and so remembering what each button does and when to use it takes a bit of getting used to.
Interspersed between the puzzles are cut scenes. There are also logs to find and read on the many laptops scattered around giving background on the crew and their relationships. It all feels real: the objects anchored to the walls, the laptops fixed next to key equipment, personal items and notes on walls and floating where they have come loose. It feels believable as there is no distant sci-fi technology, everything seems as you would expect for a space station today.
The story itself is intriguing. Early on something very strange happens (there is a clue in the picture above) apparently caused by you – SAM. Every now and again from very early on in the game the message ‘bring her’ flashes up accompanied by some hexagons, currently I assume ‘her’ is Emma but as to where I am bringing her I have no idea. I have no clue what the hexagons signify either. I’m looking forward to finishing my play through and finding out what happened and why.
If you enjoy observational puzzles, want an atmospheric space theme and don’t mind slightly complicated and fiddly controls – then I recommend giving Observation a try…