Exo One review, fluid odyssey in space (PC, Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One)

Exo one is a peculiar independent title developed by the Australian study Exbleative and edited by Future Friends Games. Although it has now been released on Xbox and PC, on both platforms available through Xbox Game Pass, this project has been alive at least since 2017, when a campaign of crowdfunding which closed with the successful figure of more than 35,000 euros invested by a thousand sponsors. At that time the keys to the video game were already clear: a fascinating sci-fi trip in which we control an alien ship that takes advantage of the gravity inertia as fuel to travel long distances on strange planets.

Ship up, ship down

The starting point of Exo one it is as simple as elegant: we control an alien spaceship that moves with gravitational inertia. In the controller this means that we have only a couple of possible mechanics that structure all the interactivity of the game; with the right trigger we make the ball pick up speed looking for the lowest area of ​​the stage, and with the left we turn the ball into a disco to glide through the air. To this must be added a couple of other possibilities, such as propelling the ship with a button in a kind of double jump or moving the camera (although it is so orthopedic that it is almost better to leave it still), but the sleight of hand is basically that: make the ball gain inertia through the ground by pressing and releasing the right trigger at the right time to take advantage of the momentum and plan as long as possible.

This movement system stands out for its originality (We have seen some games like this before, but almost never in three dimensions and with a forward advance) and because of this it can become a bit obtuse at first. We don’t always play plays with a control scheme that we have to learn so markedly. However, even when we have already learned to move with the ship, there are situations of Exo one that show that this formula needs to settle beyond this first iteration: Although you base your premise on the flow, this title does not make it easy to understand or maintain during its levels, whose design sometimes impairs the fluidity of the movement causing interruptions as silly as crashing into a front wall or falling off a slope while rolling through a narrow gorge.

The c
The camera moves away when we gain momentum, reinforcing the feeling of speed.

Run over fluency

Throughout the 12 levels of play, which become less than two hours if we go to shot doneWe travel through different open scenarios set on several fictional planets each with its own peculiarity, from aquatic worlds to infinite deserts. In each of them we aim reach a beam of light which serves as an extraction point, although along the way we are sometimes set other additional goals, such as activating the final portal, and we find collectibles that improve our planning time. Despite what it may seem, Exo one not really a merely contemplative experiencerather, it possesses all the artifacts necessary to become a traditional challenge-based adventure, something that perhaps plays against their own originality.

The best levels are the m
The best levels are the most open, those in which we can move more freely.

We see in our own level design how the game focuses on making us go through certain areas to complete certain objectives quickly discarding free interaction with their worlds and betting more on a much more conservative format than we might imagine. There are ramps, tubes, air currents and a whole series of elements that guide our attention as we approach the final goal; its placement responds to an overly planned route in open scenarios that, although we can explore them freely, end up looking somewhat wasted precisely because of that intention of wanting to create paths instead of leaving the players to establish their own. This is more noticeable on some levels than on others, but ultimately the feeling that it is a guided experience be always present during the adventure.

Where the design of Exo one It is in the audiovisual section. It is probably what stands out the most about this work and what gives meaning to that idea of ​​flowing together with the landscape, not through it (although at the physical level there is hardly any reaction on stage when we pass through it, for example , we didn’t even leave a trace when we rolled on the sand). The planets in which we play put at our service a series of stunning landscapes bathed in powerful atmospheric effects that turn each trip almost into a psychedelic experience of abstract, hostile but evocative skies, which we visit accompanied by a tenuous soundtrack that knows how to add atmosphere without taking center stage.

'Exo One' is not afraid to change style record
‘Exo One’ is not afraid to change stylistic register to surprise us with impressive postcards.


It is still curious that Exo one strives so insistently to keep traditional structures in its levels, with routes, objectives and challenges, taking into account the original mechanical premise from which it starts. That his scheme of movements is somewhat obtuse at first, making it difficult to understand that flow How well it looks in trilers is just the most latent reflection that this title lacks details to be polished: the level design itself works against the fluidity of the experience, preventing us from fully enjoying it even when we get the hang of it. flow of the ship. That doesn’t always happen, and when it works, when all the pieces fit together, Exo one is a magical adventure that understands science fiction in a very peculiar way and dresses it with gorgeous alien landscapes of exciting hostility.

We have performed this analysis on PC with an Xbox Game Pass code provided by Xbox Spain.

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