Space: the final frontier. Out there, no one can hear you scream but what happens when things go wrong and everything is not what it seems? Today, we're talking about 2017's Tacoma where the deeper in the ship you go, the plot thickens.
Tacoma is a walking sim. You're trying to find out what happened to the crew aboard the space station Tacoma using augmented reality. Unfortunately, the AR is corrupted so you'll have to rely on subtext and exploration to figure out what happened. The controls of the game are like a first-person shooter (FPS) so I wasn’t able to take any photos. I’ve technically seen a let’s play for this game but it has been a while.
At first everything seems fine...
The crew is celebrating their one-year anniversary aboard Tacoma. Each layer of the ship is dedicated to certain specializations and characters. The first floor you visit is for admin and operations, EV and Clive. They're dating and have a cat. Ev just lost her sister. The medic, Sareh, has a more personal relationship with Odin the AI. The mechanical engineer, Bert, and the networking specialist, Natalie are flirting in the kitchen. Clive and Andrew are making a cake together. With a crash, oxygen has been limited to XYZ number of hours and there is no outgoing communication. The crew rallies trying to find a solution that means they will come out alive.
On the next layer of Tacoma:
There's botany and medical where Andrew and Sareh reside. The crew has decided to prepare people to go into cryo as per protocol. Clive and EV offer to go under first to help conserve oxygen. While Bert and Nat start configuring how to get everyone to safety, Andrew complains about how he doesn't want to go under.
Sareh has a mental breakdown but Odin is able to help her through it. Andrew lost his grandmother recently and we find out he has a husband and son at home. By working at Tacoma, he’s hoping to pay for his son’s future but the family would prefer him home. In medical, we find out Nat will die if she goes under and Sareh has a troubled past involving a surgery gone wrong. Andrew concedes to go under and now it’s just the ladies left.
Down in engineering...
Sareh is regretting not telling Nat she won’t survive cryo but Odin reassures her. There’s an explosion from Bert and Nat working on the escape pod and Bert is knocked out. We find out they are married and choose to stay together despite Nat being qualified for better jobs. Odin tells Sareh about an access panel that will let her access Odin’s private information and coding. Previously this was mentioned to be closed off from Nat, the Odin specialist. Leaving the girls, Sareh goes to the restricted area and uncovers the truth...which I won’t say because of spoilers!
Devs & Walking Simulators:
I’ve seen this game compared to Gone Home, which I could see because Fullbright made both games. However, I feel like that’s like saying all walking sims are alike and that’s not true. I’d say Tacoma has more in common with Return of the Obra Dinn because you as a player really have to keep track of who is who and what is going on and all the nuances to the characters. Return of the Obra Dinn has more puzzle elements where it quizzes you on what you learned but Gone Home is creepy in a way that Tacoma is not. I didn’t feel like I was going to find any dead bodies or aliens would suddenly jump out and scare me.
It’s a vast space, sure, but the lights are all on, the AR makes you feel less alone, and the music is very relaxing. In Gone Home, I thought it was weird at least one of my parents wasn't home and I know the house was supposed to be welcoming but it was a large, unfamiliar house and I was a lot more on edge the entire time playing it. I’d say Gone Home is closer to The Suicide of Rachel Foster (which I haven’t played and please be careful if you are going to play that game) in the sense that you don’t know if you are alone and you are exploring a vast space.
Thank you for reading my take on Tacoma. Comment below your favorite character. If you like the content I make, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you like this, check out here. See you in the next post!