The post-apocalypse from an isometric view unfortunately becomes a bit of a sleeping pill in Beautiful Desolation.
Beautiful Desolation takes place in an alternative 80s, where space creatures have invaded the earth. Our avatar, Ground, his brother Don and their robot dog now faces the task of surviving, making new friends, avoiding enemies and finding his place on our earth.
When I saw the trailer for Beautiful Desolation then I was instantly hungry. The environments are really exquisite and the story seemed cool. When I then got the game and started playing, I quickly realized that the trailer did not quite live up to its promise. The view is isometric and when your avatar moves behind things, he glows in one color instead of getting a cross-section. The things you pick up you can combine with other things to be able to solve a puzzle or something else to move on. During dialogue sequences, you have different choices, but it still feels like the story moves along the same line no matter what you choose. This is a game you might expect to be in the style of an old-school Fallout (think New Vegas), not least because of the look and framing. But really, it’s something else.
I managed to get stuck the first thing I did. Games should be pretty simple at first, but I missed clicking down on a text (even though I thought I had done it). So I run around, around on the small surface, lap after lap to find something more to interact with. In the end, I restarted the track completely and drove from the beginning and then my push of a button was registered and I moved on to the next step. Not directly exquisite game mechanics.
Every character you meet has recorded voices and so is the case with your avatar. The problem is that the actors are not the best and it sometimes happens that you want to reach for the pillow of shame. The story in the game, that it takes place in an alternative 80’s with space creatures and retro robots makes me immediately think of Simon Stålenhag’s works of art and books. Just like with Generation Zero, the game creators have not given Stålenhag any cred, but they seem completely sonic, they have just “borrowed”, hey game.
Beautiful Desolation basically has a good and smart premise of mixing different styles and genres. It is a puzzle game, survival and adventure in one. The only problem is that it quickly becomes very talkative and quite tough. It happens like nothing and when if something happens, it often becomes too fast and confusing. The game simply suffers from a tempo problem that is difficult to pinpoint.
In summary, I was both disappointed and not so impressed Beautiful Desolation, so the rating is low but not yet a disaster as the game actually has beautiful views, good music and basically a cool story (albeit borrowed ..).