Near Death – Quick Game Review

Near Death – Quick Game Review
Near Death (PC [Reviewed])
Developer: Orthogonal Games
Publisher: Orthogonal Games

Near Death is an immersive walking adventure where your goal is to survive the frigid climate in Antarctica.

After your helicopter crashes, you’re stranded, and completely alone in temperatures well below freezing. The entire story is a tale of survival, as you battle the elements, searching for warmth, and a way home. Your only contact is with someone on the other end of the teletype.

You get cold very quickly, especially if you are outside or in unsealed rooms. It adds a sense of urgency, which I did enjoy, but some people might feel too rushed. As you get colder your vision gets blurry, and then turns into black and white. If you don’t get to heat quickly, you die. The greatest foe you encounter is the frigid temperature, and you need to scavenge supplies and components, and restore the power whenever you can to stay warm.

The components you find are used to craft various items to aide you on your quest for survival. Crafting items takes a short time, and recipes are found as you explore. Accessing the inventory or crafting menu doesn’t pause the game while in it, so make sure you’re somewhere warm. There are quests you need to accomplish, and most of them are straightforward fetch quests. I didn’t mind the questing, but expect to do a lot of walking, and stopping to warm up.

  • fitting music, and the sounds of the wind feel so real; the audio is very good, and it helps to set the atmosphere nicely
  • aspects of a walking simulator combined with the survival element makes it feel a lot more tense, and enjoyable
  • voice acting at the start of the game is done well (but I wish there was more voice dialog instead of communicating using the teletype)
  • decent graphics; being outside in the snowfall, battling the wind, trying to walk as you shiver and shake from the cold (camera shake can be adjusted or turned off in the settings)
  • crafting system is good, and items are easily managed
  • no HUD to monitor, instead you use these audio and visual queues to know when to get warm, and it feels more immersive
  • a bit short for the price
  • searching for items takes time; it’s a short time, but I would have preferred instant (you will sometimes find nothing)

The game took me about 2.5 hours to complete, which I feel is a bit short for full price. I still liked the game though, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere a lot. If you’re interested in an immersive walking adventure in the Antarctic, with crafting, and a heavy focus on survival, Near Death might interest you.

Review copy was provided by the developer.