Alone with You brings up some particularly fascinating questions about planetary colonisation and the nature of the human condition, and it really pushed me to the limits of what I was willing to endure in order to find my answers. The game sees the unnamed protagonist travel throughout ruined installations in order to find materials that can be used to repair their escape pod before their otherwise empty colony succumbs to the elements. Everyone else is dead, and the narrative has that same cynical bleakness that permeates any other disaster story.
The most notable thing about this title at a first glance is the artwork – everything is shown through this lens of astounding pixel art, and levels will often play with perspectives in a way that I personally had never seen before. Each action, be it climbing through a maintenance hatch or getting into the spacecraft, is accompanied by a few frames of animation that truly give the sense of interaction as opposed to simply moving from one cell to another. Each area has its own unique visual style, so the player is never quite sure what it is they are in for as they travel to their next mission.
Each level consists of a series of rooms, many of which will be initially inaccessible, and a variety of items to scan and interact with. The objective will usually be to scan a given number of components that can be used to aid in your escape from the ruined colony, though the vast majority of interact-able objects will contain story hints and snippets, allowing for the grim history of each area to be slowly revealed. After each mission, the player will be taken to a holographic simulation in order to converse with a relevant member of staff.
Alone with You has opened up some degree of internal debate for me in the context of artificial intelligence and projections. If a person is constructed from snippets of their personality, can they be considered as part of the whole? As the game progressed, I found myself becoming increasingly cold towards these characters, certainly in no small part due to the other question this game brought up – if there is never a fail state, what’s the point in playing? The title’s most glaring issue is that it is, to be frank, boring, and that’s a real shame considering how much I was enjoying both the art style and the story.
Perhaps there’s some underlying commentary on the monotony of modern life that I’m simply not intuitive enough to grasp, but making each day play out in exactly the same way is not the way to captivate your audience. At one point, my AI companion turned around and said “come meet me in the core again, as always”, and I felt that even they were tired of the whole scenario. In the end, I managed to force my way through ten days, but with no end in sight as of yet, I’m throwing in the towel.
Alone with You has so much potential with its impressive visual design and writing; unfortunately, the lack of any real challenge or adversity of any kind makes slogging through sprawling mazes of rubble and corpses seem more pointless than having romantic intentions for a computer. Oh yes, the game is a “sci-fi romance adventure”, and although I’d like to find out what all that’s about, I’ve been playing for several hours now and I’ve found nothing.
Despite my best efforts I cannot for the life of me enjoy this game, but the only real reason for that is because it fails to offer any meaningful gameplay. Dare I say it, Alone with You could have done with implementing the odd out-of-context puzzle in the same way that N.E.R.O. did because, as it stands, the game is just a rather tedious visual novel. What I find most ridiculous is just how compelling I found the narrative to be, and it’s times like these that I wish I had a greater attention span (or tolerance for pain).
Alone With You (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Alone with You is a game in the same way that a statuette is a doorstop – it works and it’s interesting to look at, but it would be better off doing something else. This title’s compelling writing is let down by its monotonous gameplay, and I’m just not willing to endure one to enjoy the other.