Sci-fi had always been an intriguing genre of fiction, including gaming. It certainly gives a possibility of reality unlike fantasy, so let’s take a look at what this new Insomnia: The Ark is all about with this psychological Sci-fi styled game.
As a psychological game, this is perhaps the kind of story that takes some time for you to wrap your head around. You start out as a soldier who just woke up from some form of deep sleep (you may be familiar with cryostasis in sci-fi). As a result with some of the anomalies you face, you investigate while doing missions for the military.
It does sort of give a STALKER vibe but in space, if I were to describe it in simple terms. Because of the many mysteries surrounding it, it does feel a little confusing as there are so many unanswered questions and concepts that take a lot of time to delve into. The side quests act sort of like a mini-side story about the denizens of the degrading space station and their struggles in it.
The gameplay is a very survival-based third-person shooter. It does feel slower-paced than other third-person shooters like Battlefront 2. It is more methodical, requires more prudence with resources as well. It also offers some form of stealth combat to help shave off numeric disadvantages as well as using party members to help with combat situations.
Since it is based on survival, exploration and efficiency are key to succeeding in this game. Mini-games are decently punishing, it requires resources to use an attempt (e.g. using some chips and electronics to initiate a maintenance mini-game) and in some cases could even kill you (e.g. disarming mines). Careful use of resources will determine how far you can survive in the game.
Skillset wise, there are multiple bonuses that can be tailored to your playstyle. If you prefer long-ranged combat, for example, you can use rifle masteries that increases your damage and reduces jamming chances. If you prefer to hoard, there are skills that increase your trading capabilities and the number of items you can carry.
Insomnia: The Ark overall is fairly complex, but combat is simple in comparison. This is more than just killing monsters and bandits, this is about surviving to the best of your abilities in a decrepit space station.
The controls take time getting used to but it does have hotkeys for most things including choices in conversations as well. In terms of keyboard and mouse, this allowed me to get through conversations and tasks decently fast. However, the mouse does feel a little clunky when used for aiming. Overall, it could use a little more polish, but if you are a speed-run player, then the controls should be fairly intuitive for you.
Surprisingly good as it captured the themes of Insomnia: The Ark astoundingly well. The lives of Ghetters, soldiers and the degrading sci-fi environment felt very dark and dirty that it makes you feel like you are trudging through slums or military bases. The psychological/supernatural aspect was done very well as you sometimes ‘hallucinate’ and wonder what you encountered was real or not.
This is perhaps one of the stronger aspects of the game apart from one particular part. The customisation of your character is quite limited and stuck to one gender (though there is some explanation for it). It is a bit of a bummer that you cannot play as a female and the male hairstyles and other aspects don’t offer a lot of options.
It does lose some points in the fact that you can’t look up and as a result, does take away some of the atmospheres if you can’t see what is above you.
Insomnia: The Ark’s audio is paired well with the visuals, though the prompt sounds do get a little annoying at times. It fits the atmosphere pretty well, but it is distinct in that it probably isn’t for everyone. Good thing is that you can remove certain sounds like music in favour of just sound effects or music of your own choice. It isn’t exactly the strongest point of the game, but it complements other aspects of the game very well.
Not going to lie, this was the worst part of the game, not in terms of bugginess or glitches. If you speak Russian, then overall, the game on how it is refined is solid and keeps the game well. If you play on a different localization, then you’ll probably find a lot of disappointing things such as unfinished translations. Though we could only speculate on why there are a lot of Russian in an English localization, it is unacceptable and could take away the experience of a lot of players.
This, however, didn’t break the game, but it prevented the game from being potentially great to just good. That being said, the developers are likely to patch in the future, but it is a disappointing viewing and experience regardless.
The themes of Insomnia: The Ark and its emphasis on resource management of your character really give an interesting vibe to the game. Despite the shortcomings, I certainly enjoyed what the game had to offer and it certainly is the type of game you can just play casually. There is certainly room for improvement and ways that could make the game feel more intuitive.
If you are a huge fan of the psychological, survival or sci-fi genre, I recommend that you give this a go. There is a fair bit of mystery that surrounds the game and atmospherically captures it really well. This reaches a decent 3 out of 5 stars.