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Exo One

Exo One

Head out on an interstellar adventure in Exbleative's atmospheric physics-based game.

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Have you ever been to a gastro-restaurant or pub, where you are handed a weird dish of food that you can't quite figure out what it is, but the taste is still impeccable regardless? That experience is a pretty great way to sum up Exbleative's latest title, the atmospheric sci-fi adventure Exo One.

I've spent an evening with this unusual gravity-defying game, completing what it offers over its short duration, and while I can say that it was one of the most soothing and transcending evenings of gaming I've had in a while, I still don't really get what exactly I was doing, or why I was doing it.

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Usually I like to talk a little about the story of a game around here, as a basis for what the title revolves around, but for Exo One, I'm really not too sure what the story is still. The game seems to be based on humanity's first voyage into the wider cosmos, using an alienoid vehicle that is essentially a ball that amasses energy and then diffuses it to generate momentum. This is what the bulk of the gameplay even revolves around: you use the vehicle to build-up energy by riding the peaks and dips of the unique sci-fi landscapes, and then release that energy to catapult yourself over vast distances on your journey to a glowing blue light that serves as a beacon for the object that will take you to the next mission.

This is pretty much all that Exo One asks of you. The narrative is very vaguely conveyed at various intervals of the adventure, and is mostly shown as fractured flashbacks. Other than that and simply getting to the strange space-time cannon at the end of a level, all you can really do is pick up the rare glowing balls to improve your ship's ability to store more energy - and to be clear, these are rather rare, with only one appearing in each level.

Exo One is a game that is unbelievably simple, yet is also immensely satisfying to play. The action of plotting a course across the vastly different planets (some spanning oceans and others being adjacent to a black hole) is very relaxing, so much so that you often fall into the lull of the journey, becoming almost transfixed on the rising, falling, and gliding manoeuvres. It's not a fast-paced game, or a challenging one in any sense, it's unique and strange and yet surprisingly intoxicating to play, even though there's not really a whole lot you actually do.

Exo One

With this in mind, it's a good thing that Exo One has such stellar visuals, because you spend the majority of your time appreciating the landscape you're crossing. Whether you're skimming the azure waves of an ocean, or zipping through the clouds of a distant alien sky, Exo One doesn't hesitate to bewilder you with its vibrant colour palette and impressive scenes. It's about as sci-fi and atmospheric as you can get.

But even with these positives in mind, it's hard to shake the peculiar nature of this game. Exo One is so unusual and difficult to make sense of that it often becomes a little challenging to get into. Sure, the impressive visuals and soothing gameplay mechanics will try to distract you from this, but when you take a step back, it can be difficult to look at what Exo One offers as more than a fancy physics tech demo. Don't get me wrong, Exo One is still a unique and interesting game to experience, but when you peek into the nitty-gritty of this game, there's not a lot to do bar basking in its eye-catching worlds.

Considering Exo One can also be completed in 90 minutes, you really don't get a lot of bang for your buck. However, if you're looking for a calming and relaxing game that will assuredly be unlike anything you've experienced before, Exo One will check these boxes, just be prepared to leave with more questions than when you entered.

Exo One
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07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
Gameplay is soothing and very fluid. Visuals are striking and eye-catching. Physics engine is impressive.
Not sure what the game is about still. Not a whole lot to do in-game. Very short.
overall score
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Exo One

REVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

Head out on an interstellar adventure in Exbleative's atmospheric physics-based game.

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