Alone With You developed by Benjamin Rivers Inc. is a sci-fi romance adventure game that definitely plays the part. (In this game, pixel graphics set the art style along with incorporating this title in the indie genre.)
Classic pixelated graphics aside, this space adventure aims on telling a deeper story and explore the introspective qualities of people ins space and maybe more simply—human beings in general. The story follow the only living survivor of a terraforming mission consisting of two colonies on a distant planet that have been destroyed by a deteriorating planet and unstable seismic activity.
While you may have noticed that science fiction and romance seem like a strange combination, in this game they make it work. Especially considering the fact that romance usually takes two—two people who are alive… In Alone With You while you are the only actually “living” being, you are constantly being talked to and instructed by an AI who also so happens to be your only companion. The AI however does provide you with other pseudo-companions through the use of a hologram simulator which creates interactive holograms of four people now dead. These four individuals are “mission-critical” meaning that they had extensive knowledge of the colonies’ systems such as the fuel gathering operation, bio-dome growing operations, and the communications tower. Each of these holograms is recreated from stored data the AI has gathered on the individuals and when the AI sleeps at night you are woken up to go and speak with these individuals about not only mission related information but also personal material. A thing that I found kind of interesting was that fact that these holograms know what they are—by that I mean dead and in some interactions they even feel afraid and unsure of their future which for me was the developer raising the question of when does artificial intelligence become sentient.
Although Alone With You offered quite the interesting dialogue between holograms and the AI, I found that much of the time the gameplay accompanying the story was too much of a grind. The main premise being that you have three weeks to prepare by gathering supplies such as food, medicine, fuel and spare parts to repair your ship before you perish from exposure. I found that the game’s way of sending you on missions got very repetitive and boring. Despite that exploring the different facilities can be interesting, such as uncovering the clues to open a new area or finding the passage you’ve been looking for that was secretly hidden in an environment puzzle. Some of the ways the game hints to clues can be really sneaky and testing out what works can have its rewards. Overall, the fact that the gameplay had no deeper dimension throughout the mid-game really made the game feel more of a chore than engaging. I felt that at times I was just running through a mission just to get closer to the end to see how it all played out.
In terms of the romance side of the game, the hologram and AI interactions are for the most part choice based interactions where you have anywhere from 1-3 different choices you can make in response to a question of statement. These choices seemed to have an effect on the story much like The Witcher games, although I’m not sure if there are any critical choices that would cause failure or death in Alone With You.
Overall without giving much away, the game ends in a less routine based way compared to the beginning and middle parts of the game, which gave me some reprieve from the repetition. All in all I think that the romance and the sci-fi element go well together and exploring the different personalities of the holograms as well as uncovering puzzles and secrets about the colonies past kept this game interesting for me. Something I might have liked to see in retrospect would be more danger or a more interactive environment; after all you’re on a foreign planet battling the relentless weather. As well as toning down the repetition of missions. All things considered I give Alone With You a rating of 6/10.