One minute, eleven seconds.

That's how long it took to load my save right now.

When I first got this game for review, it was one minute and twelve seconds. So, I mean, that's something.

But, okay, let me roll back. The Solus Project is a survival adventure game, a first person interactor of sorts, that came out earlier this year on PS4. The core premise is simple; you're one of the members of the eponymous Solus Project, an effort to find humanity a new forever-home after something goes deeply wrong with the sun and puts it on a one-way path to scrapping the Earth and most of the Milky Way galaxy.

Then something goes just as deeply wrong with your ship, and you're escape-podded to one of the candidate worlds, seemingly the only one to make it. You wake up in the wrecked pod, and from there have to begin the basics of survival and figuring out a plan; gathering resources, forming tols, and hopefully finding or putting together enough of a solid comm tower to be able to reach someone, and let them know you're alive...and that the rest of your ship, one of the key hopes for humanity's future, might not be.

It's a solid setup, honestly. Arguably a bit cliche, but there's a lot of solid details and things to work with in that premise.

And yet, I started this review tearing into the game. You know me, you know that ain't normal. So, let's ask the obvious question, why? What about this game, in particular, bugs me compared to plenty of others?

Let's get into it.

Perhaps the single most core problem, that permeates the most central mechanisms of the game, is one of trying to be too many things to too many people, to serve far too many masters. This becomes obvious from the very start of the game, which tries to get you thinking in a survival instinct. Find a source of water, and food, and fire, and shelter.

The problem is, all of those are bullshit. Fire ends up being a thing you just kind of carry with you, because a stowed fiery torch won't go out even if you go underwater. The food supplies are all pre-loaded except for some that are randomized, with no real capacity for hunting or gathering. Water is kind of a thing, but given you get a bunch of reusable water bottles within five minutes of starting the game, every stream, dribble, or basin becomes not just a source of water now, but well into finding the next one.

The interactions of the world, to some degree, follow rules...But they're also almost all canned, with only the things measured by your everpresent smartphone--I mean, space comm unit thing that's science fictiony and futuristic, actually having any real importance. Temperature, wind, humidity, these play some part in a lot of interactions...But even then, the interactions are so basic that they may as well be hard pre-determined, too. Running through the dry brush with your torch in hand doesn't do a damn thing, until you find a plant with a dedicated "apply fire to this" interaction...And that just lets you start a brief, more potent than your torch, campfire.

Then the game wants to play at exploration, adventure, the whole "survive at any cost" angle...But it doesn't actually have the fullness of world to do that, to say nothing of how often it kicks you into entirely linear puzzle dungeons.

I had to do a first-person block sliding puzzle while I was working on this review, okay? That's ludicrous.

Even the exploration ends up feeling canned, since it's ultimately for finding specific, pre-placed things, most typically objects to build your comm antenna and get off this hell rock.

Yet, because of using the mechanics and meter-management of a survival game, the puzzles end up being a mix of simple and fussy, the interactions often too basic due to your minimal access to manipulations and verbs.

This is especially true with any puzzles built centrally around this interaction, where the lack of verbs (and awkward access to the ones you have) really hurt.

So that's a lot of words talking about all the things the game does wrong. Does it do anything right?

Well, yeah. There are some crafted scenes, shots of support pods dropping and other such visuals, that are simply gorgeous. There's some interesting worldbuilding and fascinating implications in some of the places you have to go.

And it's a tiny little thing, but...This is not only a game where you can choose your character's gender, but whether to use the masculine or feminine voice, independently of eachother. I don't know if that's entirely on purpose, but having the space for someone who doesn't quite mesh with either side of the gender binary to get a little closer to themselves is absolutely a good thing.

Oh, and while I can't test it due to lack of hardware, there is PSVR support. So if you're craving more content for your goggles, the problems with this might just be something you can overlook.

But over here in "play games on a TV" land, where I've got a swathe of games to choose from and a whole stack of PS4-case-shaped packages under my Christmas tree, it's just not worth the investment. I hate saying that, you know I hate saying that...But that doesn't make it less true.

Hopefully, like with all my negative reviews, a lot of this stuff will get patched out. I want to be able to come back in six months and say it's all wrong now, and write a whole new review. But unless and until that time comes to pass...Put your hope for humanity's future in other hands.