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Symmetry (Xbox)

Developed by Sleepless Clinic, Symmetry is available now on PC (Steam) for £8.99, PS4 for £11.99 (currently £10.19 for PS Plus members) and Xbox One for £14.39. I don’t understand why the Xbox edition is so much more than the PS4 version as they are the same game.

Symmetry is a strategy-based survival game where your research ship has crash landed on a strange, uninhabited planet. Your objective is first to stay alive, then you need to try and fix your ship so that you can return home.

What stood out to me the most was that the art design of Symmetry, it is incredibly striking with pale colouring, really emphasising the feeling of isolation, even more so when blizzard storms have rolled in leaving visibility at 0% and only one of your crew is still alive trying to reach the resources on the other side of the screen, you just know that death is imminent. The soundtrack and sound effects are fantastically immersive, I love how everything intensifies when things are going from bad to worse. You can feel everything slowly slipping away from you as each crew member dies off.

The controls are very simple, and you’re given a quick briefing each time you start up a new game, zoom in and out and side to side, to see the environment and where the resources are located on each side of the base. Switch between each of the crew to order them to carry out tasks and monitor their health and hunger, telling them to rest or eat when needed. It is a shame then when you have a crew member highlighted, they won’t continue their task but their stats will still deplete. I wanted to watch carefully whilst they were gathering so that I could send them to rest right at the last viable second but was unable to do this because they just stand still. They also carry out the task you have assigned on repeat so be wary if you want them to eat after resting because if you don’t catch them quick enough, they will be back outside usually in deadly weather conditions carrying on with their tasks.

Symmetry runs very smoothly and doesn't have any issues regarding framerate or unresponsive controls which is wonderful. Unfortunately, the game did crash on me completely which typically happened whilst I was on my best attempt to survive. upon reloading the game, I had to start again and haven't been as successful in my endeavours since.

You can speed up and pause time whenever you want to but do so at your own risk because the rate at which things can go south is alarming and you may be completely wiped out before you’ve even realised the powers gone out! If I'm honest, it can get a little repetitive with all the clicking back and forth between checking crewmates and repairing machines but thankfully, the entire map isn’t that long.

You begin with three crewmates, they change each time you start a new game which is nice because it changes the game slightly. You need to micromanage your crew members in their tasks and remembering to take care of themselves (eating, resting) at the appropriate times. Gather electro waste, prepare food and chop wood as quickly as you can particularly as the weather conditions deteriorate rapidly and the resources become farther and farther away.

Each of the members will be better at one of two skills at the beginning, so pay close attention to what you’re asking of each individual if you intend to stay alive for more than five minutes. You can ask them to research a skill which in return will lead to them being able to gather/prepare more of an item which is crucial when everything starts breaking around you.

The longer you survive, there is a chance to learn more advanced skills (desperate times call for sudden knowledge of how to repair the power plant without needing electro waste) which will ease the pressure slightly. It was quite annoying how frequently things were being broken if I’m honest, it seemed unnecessary and only added to ensure the player would struggle to survive.

Perhaps I’m wrong but everything seemed to go wrong all at the same time when I was miraculously on a good run. Each crew member would have good health and food, then suddenly the power plant would break as well as my fridge and one of the regeneration capsules which of course meant at least one crew would die. Once one is dead, it's only a matter of time before the others follow suit as two people can’t seem to get things done as quickly as they need doing.

Although there is a definite addictive quality to the game, I feel like there isn’t enough to include people who maybe aren’t experienced with this type of game, it is difficult to the point where it borderlines becoming frustrating and tedious. I think multiple difficulty levels would fix this issue immediately and allow everyone to experience the story and then be able to ramp up the difficulty when they feel more confident if they desire a greater challenge.

Overall, I’ve had a bittersweet experience whilst playing Symmetry and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I’ve played for over 10 hours now and still haven’t managed to beat 12 days but I find myself trying over and over again. If I had to give it a score it would be 7/10, it is challenging but rewarding each time you survive an extra day.

Symmetry has 17 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A decent sized achievement list which is mostly progression based and will likely require a couple of full playthroughs in order to get the two different endings. There are a couple of achievements which you will earn by interacting with the corpses of your crewmates. If you need any help or guidance, then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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