ULTRA-INDIE Daily: Even the Stars We Fade

Even the Stars by Pol Clarissou, with a soundtrack by Nicholas Gavan, is a space exploration game originally prototyped for Space Cowboy, Game Jam. This game has players using commands to pilot their spaceship and entering coordinates to warp too. Each location appears to be procedurally generated as players can travel to every location between 00-00-00 and 99-99-99. The location is often a planetoid with some arrangement of satellites or neighboring planets and a star. Some locations have no planets at all and a void of deep space to drift in. There is the radio that players can activate and the received audio changes based on each warp location however whether they mean anything is up to interpretation.

Locations also vary in color and details such as the ground suggesting mineral types as well as the glow from the sun which is either indicative of the type of star or the gas in the atmosphere. You might even land on a planet with its own orbiting rings. On these planets, players are free to fly their ships around to explore the surface and to see what neighbors pass along the horizon. Once in a while you could come by some local structures like trees, giant mushrooms, or monoliths (because I can’t think of numbers so I just typed 99-99-99). On any planet, you can stop the ship and disembark to take in the vista, by resting you can annotate the location and it moves your astronaut forward in age. In the end, you can see an entire map of your journey across the stars. along with every location and memory kept there.

This game mesmerized me, it was incredible to enter in wild numbers as well as personal numbers like my birthday and to find places few or no one has seen. Every sound and oscillation and the glow of light hitting the atmosphere felt like its own gentle island, solitary but never alone as it drifts across the canvas of the cosmos. It’s a game that isn’t concerned with engagement or player retention and it doesn’t rely on feedback loops. This game is about the awe and sublime of the eternal cosmos and the rare opportunity we organisms have to witness stars living and dying in the infinity.

If you’d like to find to explore numbers of your own you can download Even the Stars here.

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