Developer: Camel 101
Publisher: Camel 101
Syndrome is a first person sci-fi horror adventure. You wake up from cryosleep, on a spaceship, with deadly monsters roaming within. You have no memories of what happened on the ship or to the rest of the crew members. Unsure of what you should do, you follow the guidance of two other people that have contacted you over voice comms. The story is told via text logs, and voice dialog.
The gameplay has a lot of sneaking around, but overall, it just feels like a giant series of fetch quests. Go here, do this, now go here, oh, but you need this item first, go back and get it. The gameplay wouldn’t be so annoying if it wasn’t for the constant backtracking.
The game uses quite a few jump scares. A few of them got me really good, but the majority of them didn’t even phase me since they happened so often that I expected them. The atmosphere is good, but after a while though, it starts to feel stale, since you spend so much time going back and forth between the same areas. The main character’s voice acting was mediocre at best, but the other voice actors were alright.
Some monsters of the patrol in a small area, and it can be challenging to get by them. Rather than wasting ammo, it was usually easier to make them chase you, and just run by. You can melee them to death, but it takes a while. The slow mobs are easily kited, but the fast mobs chase you for so long; it’s not really scary, but just more of a nuisance since there aren’t that many areas to hide. Sneaking by monsters or using a gun is your best bet, but ammo is very limited, and it takes several headshots to kill something.
- the story is fine; most of it was predictable, but I was a bit surprised by the ending
- the graphics are decent, and it’s great they have some effects you can turn off (i.e. lens flare, bloom, noise grain), but the reflective surfaces were a bit distracting.
- music and ambience feels immersive, and the game has a good atmosphere
- backtracking constantly throughout the entire game gets terribly boring
- some of the monsters are insanely sensitive to sound – you could be in a completely different room, take one step without crouching, and they would know exactly where you were; you can only drop aggro by going into a vent or a closet
- bug: there are invisible barriers all over the ship that you can’t shoot through; your bullets get deflected, and you wind up just wasting your ammo, which is very frustrating
- bug: you can noclip through some objects, and sometimes fall through the world because of it
- some of the items you need for your objectives are obscure, and have no indication whatsoever (and some people will get stuck, and need to get help finding them)
- the way you save is with save stations scattered around the ship; it can be very inconvenient, and it really hurts any form of immersion by having to open a menu to save all the time (this game would benefit from autosaves and quicksaves)
- (nitpick) you can’t move while you are saving, or looking at the map, or your inventory, but the game is not paused, and you can die if you aren’t careful
- (nitpick) crouch controls are especially irritating, and not customizable either (I have never in my life used “C” to crouch until this game, and it feels so incredibly awkward to hold “C” and move); adding a crouch toggle would help
I was really hoping to like the game, but unfortunately, I didn’t. I forced myself to finish the game, and it took me about 12 hours (that I will never get back). The experience was not an enjoyable one. I wanted to quit playing dozens of times since around the 2 hour mark, but I continued to play and push through it anyway. I felt extremely bored doing fetch quests all game, and backtracking constantly. It’s like they deliberately made the game a lot more back and forth than it needed to be just so that it takes longer. For me, the game being longer just made it more agonizing though, and I didn’t really have much fun with this game. I’m sure there will be some people who like it, but I’m not one of them.
Review copy was provided by the developer.