A strange planet. A forced landing Three survivors will have to take refuge and survive at all costs until the repairs of their spaceship. But, as we will see in Symmetry’s analysis, it also a forced difficulty and a lack of progression that weighs on work with good intentions.
It is possible that Symmetry has made the “plus still” error. A few years ago, although not as many as it seems, the video game industry was going through a crucial moment in which the difficulty had practically disappeared. There were great exponents, of course, but usually, the player aids were constant. There were a few who dared to return the challenge and punishment that had always prevailed in previous generations. But as everything happens, even good intentions, it becomes fashionable. That is why in the last couple of years we have seen videogames with good difficulty, and that’s fine. There are punishing games like FTL or Darkest Dungeon that were a success because even with their randomness in the matches, they were fair. Others, however, have turned their challenge into something forced, disproportionate and completely unbalanced.
In the case of Symmetry, this condition is probably a reflex action when trying to counteract an experience that clearly seems simple and short. The crew of a spaceship ends up colliding on an unknown planet where they will have to survive at all costs. For this, you will need to heat the shelter, get food and spare parts to repair the damage of both the base and your ship.
Here some coherence problems begin to be noticed. That humanity as advanced as it has to survive by cutting wood makes us raise an eyebrow, but by collecting the suspension of credulity, we can ignore it. As players, however, it is not that simple. The mechanics that we have explained are practically the only ones that there are throughout the adventure, with the aim of accumulating enough spare parts to repair the spacecraft.
The game will do its best to make the task repetitive
And that’s it. You can improve the wood, food and scrap compartments in order to accumulate more resources. The survivors will be able to learn a little more each one of their functions and, as we progress and survive day by day, the adverse weather conditions will be much more extreme. In addition to that, the resources will be further away from our base.
Collect. Rest well. Eat. Repeat.
The problem is that the game is aware that its goal is relatively simple (repair the spacecraft with scrap metal), so it will do everything in its power to make the task repetitive. Do you already have all the mechanics dominated? Now you have to go further to firewood and resources. Are you able to store a lot of them? Do not worry, artificial intelligence will be responsible for breaking more parts of your base randomly so you can not continue.
We would have no problem in that as we progress the game makes things more difficult for us. But after overcoming the first bars of the adventure, where the difficulty is clearly reversed, is when you miss a sense of progression through new game mechanics. The base could be improved to make it more efficient. Automate certain actions so that we do not have to worry about them and improve the skills of survivors even more to achieve more resources. However, nothing of this we find in Symmetry, unlike great exponents of the sort like This War of Mine or even more humble games like Punch Club.
The promise of a story that explains what happens on this uninhabited planet as well as the future of humanity also ends in a broken bag. The members of the crew are responsible for telling the player some of their fears, doubts, and memories but they never get to completely hook the player, who is more interested in surviving at all costs than in listening to what they have to say. There is even an important event where the plot should affect the difficulty itself. Survivors abundantly mention how “something”, which we will not say, is influencing them or playing with their minds. But this never moves to the video game in any way. Our survivors do not reject our orders, suffer stress or perform acts on their own. Nothing.
The only section that survives without problems is the artistic one, with a good 2D design that with its simplistic character is able to perfectly create a good atmosphere of a planet in which the weather conditions have exploded. The animations are not so successful, but they are functional and do not hinder the game.
Our survivors do not reject our orders, do not suffer stress or perform acts on their own.
All in all, we expected more from Symmetry. Much more. His own page on Steam promises a deep and mysterious plot, with moral dilemmas that never make an appearance (only when a survivor dies gives the possibility of burying or eating). You notice that the development has been hasty and the difficulty, forced to stop your progress at all costs in the absence of new mechanics that deepen the management strategy. There are clear exponents that achieve a much better feeling of survival through the management of time and resources.
Symmetry barely scratches the surface of what the strategy and survival genre are able to offer. There is a clear lack of progression and difficulty that seems forced, which frustrates with the sole purpose of scratching some more time of the game. We expected much more from him. Unfortunately, this lack of depth does not match up to great exponents like This War of Mine or Sheltered.
- Good artistic section: simple and effective
- Obvious lack of progression
- Difficulty forced to repeat the same action so as not to reach the end
- Somewhat uncomfortable interface