About the game:
- Developer: SIGONO Inc.
- Publisher: SIGONO Inc. & Flyhigh Works
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, macOS, iOS, Android
- Release Date: October 25th, 2015 (iOS, Android) April 22nd, 2016 (PC, macOS) November 30th, 2017 (Nintendo Switch)
- Price: $5.00
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Warning: Contains some very minor spoilers
Indie games on the Switch have some sort of track record of being a quick cash grab by the studio that made it. The eShop has been flooded with new games, ranging from triple-A masterpieces to the mobile games that just don’t have any life in them. OPUS: The Day We Found Earth is neither of those. Instead, it takes the beautiful format of “show, don’t tell” and combines it with a calming soundtrack and intriguing story that lasts for a short, but sweet, 2 hours.
You are Emeth, a slightly childish robot that’s been tasked to find Earth in order to save humanity’s deteriorating gene pool. Along with you is LISA, the AI version of Dr. Lisa, the doctor that helped create you. Along the way, you discover more and more about Dr. Lisa and Emeth’s backstory, and Makoto, her colleague that didn’t believe they’d ever find Earth.
Like I previously mentioned, the music in this game exceeds all expectations for a game of this degree. It compliments the feel-good journey of Emeth while also keeping the space theme of the game intact. Personally, I wouldn’t play this game without at least having the sound on (headphones recommended), as it helps keep the pace steady and upbeat… or as upbeat a game of this nature can be.
The story may seem like a fun, happy story about a small orange robot navigating his way through space (with the help of OPUS, the ship interface, of course), but after reaching the halfway point, you start to realize how lonely and lost you truly are. However, this only propels you to find Earth once and for all.
Your spaceship had just undergone a power outage and the two doctors that were with you disappeared. LISA helps you throughout the game, acting as the tutorial. As you play, the story of how and why the two doctors disappeared unfolds, and your purpose is revealed. The game itself may be a different story, or rather, different experience.
You explore the universe by clicking ZL and going to the telescope. You have a mission-based system where you get an objective. In the galaxy, there are zones that mark different areas of the galaxy. In each zone, sections help you accurately locate the desired planet by showing you the coordinates of the planet. For example, you may be asked to find a body of mass in the Malkuth section in (02.01).
After finding the planet, it scans it for its similarity to Earth. In order to be considered Earth, it has to have a 99.8% similarity. After finding it (and discovering it isn’t Earth), you get to see what made it different from Earth and also a bunch of characteristics. Finally, you get to name it, adding it to your compendium of sorts.
The gameplay fits the length of the game, but even then, for the short periods of time you’d be playing the game, you’d get bored of the constant exploration and waiting times. There’s time between clicking the button and going to the telescope, then getting the mission, then spending a bit looking for the section (they can be very small and hard to find), then actually going to the coordinates of the planet. Even then, there could be 3 or so stars in the same little square, so it’s really a guessing game.
Despite this, however, the game still manages to be entertaining, fitting bits of story between each discovery. There aren’t twists or anything that would surprise you, but perhaps that’s for the best. In a game like this, a calming experience best fits the mood.
OPUS: The Day We Found Earth is something that makes you feel you warm inside. The music, visuals, and moving story all join together to create an almost movie-like experience at an affordable price. Sure, the gameplay can feel subpar at times, and the repetitiveness is boring at best, but for 2 hours, it’s an enjoyable experience that can be completed in one go in the dead of night. And for that, I give the game an