Summer is here and may come some free time explore space in game form and one that caught our eye recently explores how a fictional artificial intelligence (AI) solves problems in space. So, naturally, we couldn`t wait to launch right into it.
The game, “Observation,” developed by No Code and published by Devolver Digital, was released for a few platforms in 2019 and expanded to Microsoft Xbox last year. Unusually for space games, you play as the AI and attempt to help an astronaut who is facing a catastrophic problem on a nearfuture space station.
Your mission as the AI, named SAM, is to open doors, turn valves and solve problems with an astronaut named Emma. An early tense moment in the game has you and Emma working together to contain a fire in the space station, and then Emma asks you to check out the source of the fire using your cameras and sensors.
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Observation for PC on Steam: $27.29 now $9.79 on CDKeys
Help astronaut Emma solve problems, survive and find out what happened to her crew as he AI Sam in Observation from No Code and Devolver Digital. VIEW DEAL
“Observation” from No Code and Devlover Digital puts you in space as the AI , SAM. Your mission: Help human astronaut Emma , solve puzzles in space and survive.
As AI Sam, you`ll have to help Emma open hatches and other systems while investigating what happened on your space station. (Image credit: No Code/Devolver Digital)
In playing a few hours of the game, you can see why space is such a tough environment for astronauts and computers alike. You`re always trying to fix things, and the SAMEmma dynamic simulates how crews work together to fix realtime problems on the International Space Station (ISS). What we especially enjoyed was the idea that you sometimes have to try a few strategies to find the right solution, which is similar to what astronauts do during dynamic situations such as spacewalking.
To solve problems in the game, you have to not only search the environment but also mash buttons in a particular order, similar to the sequences gamers used in the 2018 video game “Detroit: Become Human” that explored the rights of androids. Luckily, though, “Observation” is more forgiving than “Detroit,” and the astronaut will often take over if you`re having trouble finding the solution.
The game is a good fit if you enjoy problem solving and linking as you go, but if you`re looking for quick action and solutions, you won`t enjoy the experience. Some of the thought puzzles require you to sit for a while and think logically, playing through different camera angles and asking your crewmember for help. But be patient, and rewards will come.
Space.com spoke with Jon McKellan, creative director for No Code, to learn more about the development process behind the game. This interview has been edited and condensed.