PEGBRJE: Salvage Solitude 8140 and Winterlore I
Salvage Solitude 8140 is a randomized repair-centric title made by Missing Sentinel Software, an indie studio created and ran by josefnpat in the United States. Upon entry, players find themselves in the station known as Solitude 8140 given a singular goal: fix it. Somehow.
Given nothing but a bizarre looking gun, players will enter Solitude 8140 close to a large billboard with a list of descriptions and explanations that can be boiled down in to: much of the station is broken, and how broken it is can be discovered thanks to the emergency light system. See, since we’re in space, broken rooms are inherently a death trap thanks to the lacking of oxygen, so understanding which rooms are breathable and which are not is the first key to success. Red rooms are the most dangerous, for they are damaged and cannot hold air at all; these will be the ones that require the most attention to repair as the room itself must be fixed before anything within can be. Teal rooms are the next state, where a room theoretically could hold air if there was any to begin with, meaning players can still suffocate within. Yellow is a transitional colour, leading to White which means that the room has oxygen and can be traversed freely.
Now that the rooms are understood, there’s one giant looming question; how exactly does a gun fix these things? Well this little repair gun is to be treated like a multi-tool, and it’s ‘ammo’ is the charge. Each repair charge that is targeted at an object will transfer from the gun to the broken object, so if a room is at 57% and players hold down M1, they will begin the repair process and lose 43 charge from the gun to get the room to 100%. Ammo does regenerate slowly, but at that speed it would be better to utilize the next aspect of the station; the power grid. Many rooms within the station contain useful generators or machines that can assist with the repair process or ensure that the player does not die along the way. These usually need to be repaired as well (go figure) but once they are, can be turned on by allocating a single MW to the machine to allow it to become useful. The most important machine from my understanding is the Resupply locker, which allows for players to recoup lost ammunition at a rapid rate. Without one, players are simply bumbling around, waiting for their ammo to come back passively. Other machines such as the Shield Generator and the Air Generator are repair oriented, for the shield will begin to repair rooms in an expanding radius while the air generator will do the same but with oxygen. The Medibay is there to regain any lost health due to oxygen loss, but will go unused the more familiar the player gets with the title. Finally is the Power Generators themselves, which add power to the grid so that there is enough to be allocated — I don’t know what happens when more power is drawn than is offered, and I didn’t stick around to find out.
It’s an interesting game of give and take, as players are trying their best to ensure that there are no ‘broken’ rooms left on the station to complete their mission; oxygen not required. Much of the time will be spent exploring with the limited stamina the player has, while figuring out which rooms need to be repaired before running out of ammunition. Repairing an Air Generator is useful, but if none of the rooms surrounding it can support oxygen then that’s a lot of ammunition spent to walk through those rooms devoid of air and go back to a resupply. Oxygen will sneak up when one least expects it, and depletes rapidly so ensuring there’s at least a quick route back to a white room is crucial to survive.
With 5 floors of randomized rooms, Salvage Solitude 8140 is a fun little gameloop to surround yourself in. The first playthrough is definitely the most challenging, as understanding that some rooms don’t have ‘consoles’ to repair and just need repairing may confuse some at first. Subsequent playthroughs, however, become almost like a speedrun as you understand the need for simply turning on generators and acquiring as many room locations as possible. There’s no plot to be wary of — although that could’ve been interesting if there was — so simply dive back in and try again regardless of success. If you want to spend an hour fixing a space station for the pure satisfaction of just fixing something, then give this a whirl.
Winterlore I is the first installment in a mystery narrative point-and-click series made by Moroi Springs, the studio name for indie duo Andreea Dragoman and Tudor C. Stamate. Inspired by Balkan folktales, players unravel a mystery revolving around young Ozana who, after recently losing her grandmother, retreats and retraces her the steps of her family traditions to find peace. What she finds along the way, however, isn’t as expected.
Players will be following along with Ozana as she resides in a small house and attempts to recreate three items on the back of a letter. To do so, players will be exploring the house, learning of Ozana’s history and culture while uncovering exactly how to create these objects for the chest. In typical point-and-click fashion, players will interact with certain items to discover if they can be picked up, and then utilized in a different area to either solve an issue or combine the two and create a new object. Come of these solutions will be to puzzles outside of the ‘return object to location’, such as finding all of the pieces to a broken object or memorizing codes to open another. There’s a good balance of different puzzle events throughout, and rarely did I feel like each solution was getting stale thanks to the tight execution.
Let’s get this out of the way, however, because this is just as focal to the game; Balkan folklore, and by extension most Slavic folklore, is completely out of my wheelhouse. To those unaware of the folktales it is a bit harder to follow, but Ozana does a fantastic job of narrating the processes she must go through in order to create the objects necessary to complete each tradition. Winterlore embraces its inspirations fully and steeps itself in tradition, from the patterns that players are creating to the individuals who arrive to interact with Ozana. Everything is about following a traditional path to completion, reconciling with the events that she has gone through while observing the tasks that one takes in order to achieve them. There’s a sense of peace and warmth in the frigid snow as she talks about her family, how the hearth has served them or what her grandmother used to do with the loom. Without knowing anything it is still easy to understand the emotions and the weight of her actions — this doesn’t make me any less suspicious of those that show up to this isolated location, or what happens once the three items have been completed.
Winterlore I is a small yet rich title that wants to share its world with any that wish to join in. The artstyle adds to the softness, accentuating the colours against the bleak backdrop of a winter’s forest. It’s short, but this is only the first installment in the many more to come to flesh out what exactly is happening with Ozana’s journey. If you like tales rich in folk-inspired lore, then try this out and see for yourself; Winterlore II is out from what I can tell, and should be an interesting adventure to follow up the cliffhanger.
Salvage Solitude 8140
You have awoken on the abandoned station, Solitude 8140, far off in a desolate corner of the universe. You have no idea…