Tech Sassy on video games: “Saturn 9” impressive, challenging

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Horror games are more fun with friends than as a single player, but sometimes a solo game is epic enough to keep to yourself. 

 “Saturn 9” is another independent game on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and it basically follows the same line as all other horror games, only this one has no multiplayer option. What really makes this game different is the storyline.

Rather than being thrown directly into the heart of the game to search for some object or another, “Saturn 9” begins with some background information. You are the recovery team for a desolate space ship. What has happened to the occupants is unknown because communication was lost. Your job is to retrieve all of the data cards left behind by the crew without running out of air.

Sounds pretty simple, right? I thought so too, but what this game does that others don’t is it makes you go through obstacles to advance to the next room. By far, my favorite obstacle is the biometric door. I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll tell you this much: The biometric signature you need comes from the body on the autopsy table.

After you work through the obstacles, you come to the cargo hold where, if you actually read the computer log entries, you know something is lurking.  As you collect the data tablets, you must dodge a mutated crew member who looks like a decomposing zombie.

The premise of the game is more thought-out than other horror games I have played, which is beautiful, but there are still some minor flaws.

“Saturn 9” doesn’t necessarily have a save function. To my knowledge, it saves at three different points in the game. That’s it. If you run out of oxygen before you get to the next point, it tosses you all the way back to the previous checkpoint and changes the map. One minute you could be walking into the autopsy room, and next you’re walking into a locker room.

I have an issue with the checkpoint system “Saturn 9” uses because it makes for a less streamlined game. I was thrown off when I turned the game on for the second time, and I was no longer near the end of the autopsy room, but, instead, at the beginning of an office space.

The other unfortunate aspect that comes along with the lack of save points is coming back with very little oxygen, so you spend precious time searching for a refill tank. It will always start with very little oxygen, whether you have died or if you turned the game off and back on later.

Though the save situation is disconcerting, the graphics make up for it. Normally, indie games are fairly grainy, and scenes jump noticeably. “Saturn 9” doesn’t have either of those problems.

As I run out of oxygen, the screen sways from side to side without so much as a glitch. Right before suffocating, I can barely control the screen as it reels from side to side. During times like these in “Saturn 9,” I forget I’m playing an indie game, which would otherwise have low-grade graphics.

Unlike “White Noise Online,” “Saturn 9” does have a small cost on the Marketplace. Now that the marketplace has switched to monetary value instead of Microsoft Points, it costs $1, which, for the game you are getting, is no large sacrifice.

This game is rather gory and is given a violence rating of three out of three on the Marketplace, so keep that in mind because the game is not officially rated. The violence rating is deserved, though, considering at one point you even cut someone’s arm off.

Xbox may give the game a three out of three for violence, but I give the game a 3 1/2 out of five for gameplay overall. I recommend it to anyone looking for a new gory game to spend a couple of days on.

Have a suggestion for a game I should review? Tweet me at @Techsass and let me know what you want to see.