Publisher: Future Friends Games
Release Date: 11/18/2021
Also Available On
I’ve always been fascinated with space and what planets on the surface look like. Weather patterns, mountain formations, various chemicals, and minerals do certain things with the weather and whatnot. This is what Exo One explores. While there’s a paper-thin story here about a spacecraft being discovered on Earth and NASA trying to use it to launch a crew to Jupiter. The vessel gets lost, I think, and you wind up bouncing around a dozen different planets trying to find your way back to Jupiter. It’s barely there, but it gives you a reason to keep going and provides an overall goal.
The controls take getting used to and by the end of the game I never quite cared for them. They seem over-complicated, but you essentially control the ship’s gravity and flight direction. You can roll on the ground to build up power (the orange glow in the center of the ball) and can lift off or smash down to the ground by increasing gravity. You do also have a double jump button which comes in handy for fine-tuning your flight path. You want to stay in the air as much as possible as this is your best form of movement. In the air, you can travel farther as you will be traveling dozens of kilometers on each planet to get to the goal.
Each planet is completely different in the sense that some are covered in oceans, some have no ground, and some have more complicated terrain to get around. Some have little gravity and some give your ship a bigger boost due to the increase in lightning in the area. You can boost your ship with various things like flying into clouds, wind paths, particles, and various other boosters. These boosters are usually visible a few kilometers away and you want to get to those. There are some instances in which navigating became irritating and frustrating. A couple of planets have strong winds or will cut your controls completely. One planet had me just rolling along the ground for over 10 minutes using the wind to guide me. The terrain itself seems almost randomly generated and hills are your enemy. You want to boost downhills and release gravity going up like a giant ramp. This is impossible in areas with strong wind as they slow you down.
There are upgrades for your ship kind of spread around on some planets. These increase your glide and overall power, and they are helpful, but getting to them can mostly be a chore. Fine-tuning and aiming for a small spot is really frustrating. You can constantly turn around and try again trying to gain just the right height to reach an upgrade. The enjoyment is the constant momentum you can create via rolling on the ground, boosters, and using clouds to gain altitude. Once you reach the goal, which will be a giant blue light in the sky, you warp to the next planet and I love the variety. Not a single planet is the same and soaring over large oceans or weird formations is just awesome. The visuals are fantastic with great water effects, rain effects, and an overall amazing sense of speed.
There’s not much else to the game except to enjoy the scenery. There are no high scores, no hidden secrets, or anything of that nature. Think of this as a “walking simulator” but up in the sky. The only gameplay is maintaining your flight and fighting elements on some planets. It’s over in about two hours, but it’s a beautiful two hours. If you love exploring planets on say games like Mass Effect you’re going to enjoy this quite a bit.