Drift Into Eternity is a new title from Indie developer We Are Bots and has been out of Early Access for about 2 months now. You find yourself on a deserted spaceship far out in the abyss with no hope of rescue. Death is inevitable and the aim is to simply survive as long as possible via eating, drinking, repairing injuries and curing diseases and ailments. Another objective is to try and maintain the ship you find yourself in while things break and fail around you. It is a lonely and arduous experience with no promise of gratification. Certainly not for the feeble hearted.
Drift into Eternity (or D.I.E for short) is an extremely unforgiving game. Possibly too unforgiving. The gameplay is extremely slow and feels rather clunky, which makes general movement and carrying out tasks feel very sluggish. Combined with the crafting mechanics being somewhat difficult to understand initially the game provides the player with a first impression that is less than encouraging. As you navigate the corridors you quickly become lost. Everything essentially looks the same and the maps on the walls aren’t particularly helpful since it’s so easy to become disoriented. An issue that became apparent during one ‘playthrough’ was that fire spreads in a bizarre fashion. Opening a door into an area of the ship that is on fire causes the area you are in to instantly be on fire. It is unclear whether this is a bug that needs addressing but it feels peculiar and obviously quite frustrating. Occasionally it can also seem unclear as to why you died, with the player being left uncertain as to how they could avoid that death the next time around. In many ways D.I.E is a valiant effort at creating a truly bleak survival experience, but due to the sheer effort required to make any form of reasonable progress, this game will probably drive the majority of players away very quickly. A little perseverance rewards the player with figuring out the crafting system and the repair system, which in turn allows progress and reasonable survivability. However this still leaves the issue of the repetitive nature of the gameplay. The repair tasks feel rather shallow and the disorienting environment make it difficult to work out where you need to go to repair things and where you need to go to re-locate useful places on the ship.
The player interface is essentially fine aside from one major complaint. The player inventory is not organized into sections and has no search function, which is horribly frustrating once you start to accumulate even a reasonable number of different things.
The visuals are nothing amazing. Every piece of scenery looks very similar and monotony quickly sets in for those finding the crafting uninteresting or obscure. The textures are very basic and the colour scheme is extremely bleak, which certainly fits in with the overall feel of the game, but definitely doesn’t help with aiding the player in engaging with the experience it offers.
The audio is fairly poor. There is a ‘humorous’ AI voice that rapidly becomes intensely irritating and sadly turning the AI off also seems to turn any music off with it. This leaves you playing the game in silence aside from the ship noises which feels fairly dreary, but it is certainly more bearable than having to listen to the AI constantly. However, the music is nice, so it seems a shame to have all the audio turn off when you only want to get rid of one bit of it.
Over all Drift into Eternity offers a briefly engrossing experience for the average gamer if you can get past the initial frustrations, but ultimately there is very little to encourage most people to keep playing, especially with no reward for reaching the endgame.