Fort Solis Review

Fort Solis Review

I don’t know how to feel about this one and I’m very conflicted if I should or shouldn’t recommend this game.

On one hand I truly respect the game for what it achieves as the debut game from a newly formed indie studio. But on the other hand, I was disappointed by it of not meeting my own expectations that I set for it. Confusing? Yeah, I know I’ll try to explain it a little bit better.

Fort Solis is a third person perspective sci-fi psychological thriller, set on a mysteriously deserted mining facility on Mars. The entire story takes place in one night, and sees you playing as Jack Leary, an engineer working on Mars as he responds to a routine alarm call at the base of Fort Solis.

But, of course, that routine call is not just a normal routine call and I guess you might know what happens next.This whole premise has been used to death not only in games, but movies and TV series. In fact the game itself pokes fun at this overplayed trope as some point during a dialogue.Something bad has happened on this station and as you roam the empty rooms, corridors, medical bays and whatnot, you gather clues like audio notes, emails and vlogs and you start to piece together what might have happened.

Before I got my hands on the game, I knew from trailers and press releases that Roger Clark, the voice of Arthur in Red Dead Redemption 2, and Troy Baker, who needs no introduction, were part of the cast. So at the start of the game, when Jack speaks and Roger’s voice comes out, put one and two together, that meant my boy Troy would be villain. Since this a psychological thriller, I couldn’t wait to see him go all psycho and well, he did not disappoint.

Their performances in the game are top notch. Roger’s Jack feels like a good dude you’d love to have a beer with, funny and a little quippy, while Troy’s Taylor well, I wouldn’t want to be in a room with him and let’s just leave it at that. The other main character, Jessica, played and voiced by actress Julia Brown is also great. The casual banter between Jack and Jessica gives way to genuine concern as Jack unearths bloody trails, sabotaged doors, and other mysteries that I'll refrain from spoiling.

Fort Solis is built using Unreal Engine 5 so graphically it looks really really good and the team is clearly punching well above their budget. The environments, the lighting, and soundscape help create this eerie atmosphere of you being alone in this seemingly abandoned martian fort. Character and face animations are of the highest quality especially when you remember that this is an indie game made by like 20 people. The production value of Fort Solis is clearly insane and it’s probably one of the best things it has to offer.

I say that cause when it comes to gameplay, for me, the game falls extremely short. You see, I am not a big fan of walking simulators and I didn't know that Fort Solis would indeed be a walking simulator. What you do in the game is just slowly walk through the environments and press the X button to open doors, pick up objects you can inspect and collect audio notes, emails and watch video logs made by the people stationed in the Fort.

Occasionally, there are some quick time events that come out of nowhere and are so quick in fact that I failed most of them, but the game just kept going.

As I said it in the beginning, I kinda did this to myself due to the high and unwarranted expectations that I had set for the game. I was expecting some intricate puzzles, maybe a little bit of combat, maybe playing hide and seek with the main villain as he would always stalk me Alien style through the fort, I don’t know, just something more when it comes to actual gameplay. The story, acting and presentation are really good, but I also wanted some more engaging gameplay to accompany all that.

Ultimately I found Fort Solis to be a gorgeous boring walking simulator. I respect it for what it achieves in terms of the insane production value, but I wish it did more with the actual gameplay side of things. Having said that, if you are someone like me who had already built-up this game in their heads to be something more than it actually is, I think you might end up disappointed. But, if you are a fan of short 4 hour-ish narrative walking sims, give it a try. Thanks for reading!

The game was reviewed on a PS5 using a promo code provided by PR. Fort Solis is out now on PC and PS5.