By: Brian Gunn
Event, the first game from developer Ocelot Society, is an odd combination of first-person, text-based adventure, offering players a mysterious AI to interact with.
Despite being a first-person game with little interactivity, Event takes a little getting used to control wise. As you will frequently be typing, the developers have ignored the traditional WASD scheme for movement, instead placing it entirely on the mouse with the left button to move forward and right to move back. This allows you to seamlessly move and type, which is required in a few moments, but it can feel awkward nonetheless.
Event is set in an alternate reality where Earth moved into exploring space in the 1980s, which creates a somewhat unique visual style. Your primary interactions are with Kaizen, an AI, through an ’80s computer UI, while the space station in the game seems modeled after films from the time period.
There are some bizarre graphical oddities, though. Performance is pretty rough even on high-end rigs, and there are some low-resolution textures on the terminals, where you’re going to be spending a lot of time. A long initial loading time also bogs things down, but thankfully there are no loads after that.
“Hey Judy” is a standout selection from the soundtrack, appearing intermittently throughout the game — in fact, I liked it so much I ended up listening to it a few times outside of the game. The rest of the music doesn’t leave much of an impression, and there’s often little of it.
This is a story set in an abandoned space station, so there’s lots of empty quiet to explore. Voice acting isn’t anywhere to be found, though Kaizen is given some personality via his odd electronic chirping when speaking to you.
Event takes place on a derelict spaceship with an old AI as the sole survivor. Players get to this ship after their own mysteriously explodes and are ejected toward it, and the proceedings suggest perhaps you found this ship on purpose.
Kaizen is that old AI. A brusque and moody little bugger, he quickly demands you start working for him. You quickly learn the reason the ship is out there is that it contains a piece of tech Kaizen has deemed too dangerous to return to Earth, and he’s determined to get your help with destroying it before he’ll let you go home.
Most of the game’s mechanics involve interacting with Kaizen via computer terminals. You’ll need to give commands like “open d10” to open the door marked D10, for instance. There’s some fairly light puzzle solving as well, but since you can’t really interact directly with anything besides the terminals, it is mostly about finding objects like passwords by looking at them.
There’s loads of logs to read, most of which are optional, though a few offer key details if you want to proceed, as well as hints to what is really happening in the story.
Kaizen is overall the star of the show. While he is directive oriented, he seems to have gone a little mad from his loneliness. Despite following his orders, he may, for example, trap you in a room until you promise you’ll return. How you engage with him affects his disposition and the story, so if you’re nice he may be more willing to listen to you.
The game features a fairly impressive range of responses based on what you type in, and the trappings of Kaizen being slightly crazy helps to disguise some of the things the game won’t understand. In those cases he’ll often respond with clues as to how you proceed.
Event ends up being fairly short, though it does have multiple endings, some of which will require you to change how you treat Kaizen, so there’s some decent replayability here.
Event is a solid adventure tale with an amusing lead character. It also plays quite unlike anything else on the market and is worth consideration for that alone.