Close to the Sun Review – One Unforgettable Cruise

    Title: Close To The Sun
    Developer: Storm in a Teacup
    Release Date: May 2, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Wired Productions
    Genre: Adventure

To my surprise, when I first heard about Storm in a Teacup’s Close to the Sun, I questioned how I could not have known about this game sooner. Despite hearing about this first-person story-driven horror game a little late, I wanted to jump right in. What ended up happening was that Close to the Sun scared me to the point of wanting to quit playing but at the same time, it was impossible for me to stop. Not knowing what might happen while being left absolutely terrified and wanting to finally get some closure about the story kept me going until the ending credits.

The story revolves around a young female journalist, Rose, who suddenly receives a letter from her sister Ada who is a passenger on a majestic yet mysterious ship called the Helios. This ship was created by a futuristic inventor named Nikola Tesla. However, when Rose arrives, to look for her sister, something seems unusually wrong about this place — it’s completely quiet, looks rather devastated, and there is this small issue of blood splattered everywhere.

When she finally manages to contact her sister, something seems off and no one seems to want to tell her what is actually going on. While danger lurks around every corner, Rose is tasked with trying to stay alive and she must trust a mysterious person over her radio who is in need of help. Completely confused, Rose decides to investigate every nook and cranny of the massive ship in hopes of uncovering the mystery of what led it to the state that it is in now.

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When I started Close to the Sun, I was immediately terrified by its atmosphere. Everything was so eerie and even my own footstep sounds caught me off guard — leaving me hysterically looking around in case something frightening might pop out of the blue. What makes matters even scarier is that Close to the Sun has a lot of small jump scares which are absolutely spine-chilling, especially if you get scared very easily, like me.

I was shrugging and screaming at every single jump scare, and I told myself that I should just take a break and calm down every time it happened, but at the same time, I was so immersed that it was simply impossible. Despite my overwhelming fear of the unknown, I knew I had to go on even if it meant I would get scared to death and believe me, I really did scream a lot.

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Close to the Sun is a rather linear game that doesn’t have a problem with directing the player in the right direction. While there is nothing terrifying chasing you around the entire time, there are indeed parts of the game where you have to run away in order to stay alive. Rose can’t fight back, so you’ll just have to try to find a way to get away from danger. These moments flowed naturally with the game’s pacing, and I was literally panicking while trying to avoid the enemy as quickly as possible and find a way out, which was quite tricky at times when you are in a rush.

In Close to the Sun, there is a lot to explore, such as newspapers or documents, which will tell you more about several side characters in the game. Although it is not required to check them out in order to go on with the main story or to even be able to understand it, I found some documents quite interesting while other ones were not really important, like passports, and felt like they were just implemented into the game for the sake of extra world building.

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There are also plenty of puzzles implemented in Close to the Sun which aren’t too complicated. I found some even way too easy to solve as the answer to the puzzles were either in the very same area or sometimes even right above the puzzle itself which made the puzzle pretty pointless. Close to the Sun had a few puzzles where walking and remembering numbers or symbols were necessary, but they are relatively straight forward and I would even dare to say they are solvable for everyone, even players who are bad at puzzles.

The stunning art deco look of Close to the Sun is magnificent, especially when playing the game on maximum PC settings, and there are plenty of small details, like haunting reflections and blood stains, that give this game a truly creepy feel. Sadly, a few people, such as the dead ones or enemies looked quite awkward to me. This really surprised me, given that the rest of the game is so stunning, but again, you’re alone most of the time in this game and will be able to only take a glimpse at some people when they function as jump scares.

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In the end, Close to the Sun is a truly great first-person horror game that manages to have a suspenseful and terrifying atmosphere without having endless unnecessary jump scares. Since the jump scares are never overwhelming, each and every one of them managed to scare me every single time, which I wasn’t expecting. Despite being totally terrified, I was unable to turn away from the screen.

Even though Close to the Sun was a truly scary adventure for me, every moment was enjoyable as every time I completed a chapter, I felt proud of myself for overcoming a part of the game once again. While the puzzles in Close to the Sun might be too simple for most players, it won’t be a turn off for those who rather want to enjoy its atmosphere and story.

Score:
/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Lynn Caramella

an enthusiastic writer, who spends her free-time with rather uninteresting and boring things, while absolutely being in love with cute and girly stuff.