You’re on board of the Nautilus, an experimental space vessel from the eighties. Your only chance of getting off this ship and back to Earth is to destroy the ship’s Singularity Drive. In space no one can hear you scr.. type! Are you familiar with text adventures? Games that only consist out of text? Usually you have to enter specific commands like “pick up the key” and “open door” in order to progress. Developer Ocelot Society has clearly succeeded in moving this type of gameplay to the next level. The result is Event . An sci-fi narrative exploration game.
Houston, we have a problem.
When you enter the Nautilus for the first time (your arrival at the ship is a rather tragic event I won’t spoil here) you discover the vessel has been abandoned and clearly has been so for quite some time. The only “inhabitant” left is the ship’s AI, called Kaizen. Kaizen seems friendly and is delighted to learn of your arrival:
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Patrick”, he says.
In order for the player to communicate with Kaizen, you have to make use of various terminals scattered around the ship. Talking to Kaizen is easy, just type whatever is on your mind by using the keyboard. Using the mouse and keyboard is the only way to navigate around the ship and talk to Kaizen. Controllers are not supported. After his friendly hello, I chose to greet the AI back.
“You can ask me to do things for you around here.”, Kaizen remarks.
And so my adventure starts. Kaizen’s responses are amazingly life-like for an AI. Surreal even. He responds to all sorts of commands and comments in a humanly fashion. The AI has its limits in understanding you, of course, but the developers have done a great job by mask this with jokes or witty comments.
Since Kaizen is the only object you can interact and communicate with on the ship, it won’t take you long before you consider him your friend. As is the case with AI’s though, you can’t seem to shake this eerie feeling that there’s more going on and that the AI might be misleading you. Whether or not this is the case, you will have to find out yourself. The game features multiple endings. The ending you’ll reach will be defined by how you managed to communicate with the AI.
Type with me if you want to live.
The game is essentially a puzzle game. There’s no shooting or fighting. To find out what your objective or goal is, the player must keep communicating with Kaizen. Just ask him about a specific function to learn more, or enter his core if you dare to hack him. Apart from featuring an impressive gameplay mechanic, the game also has nice visuals and takes place in a full 3D environment. That’s pretty unique for a text adventure game. The progression of the narrative still takes place on Kaizen’s screens and apart from some exploration, there’s nothing else to do on the Nautilus (OK, you can play the Piano). There’s been a great sense for detail as well: For a brief moment, you’ll have to exit the Nautilus and don a spacesuit. After some time your visor becomes foggy and moist from your breath touching the visor. It all makes for an very immersive and polished experience.
Unfortunately, the experience is a rather short one. After only two hours of play the credits crawled over my screen. Such a pity. While there’s some replay value in trying to unlock the various endings, the overall narrative will remain pretty much the same. Event  was released on the 14th of September and is currently on sale for a price of around 22 dollar. In order to justify this price I made the following calculation: there’re three endings in the game. Reaching one took me two hours. So unlocking all will take you around six. I think only six hours of play for twenty dollars is slightly disappointing.
Overall I experienced Event  as a very amusing game with an interesting concept. Developer Ocelot Society managed to re-invigorate the text adventure genre by adding a detailed 3D environment that features a life like AI. The nice graphics, atmosphere and a great sense for detail all make up for an (short) immersive and polished experience.