Distrust PC Review with Stream
Inspiration can come in many forms. From a nice scenic overview, to a really interesting person telling you their life story, or for many it comes in the forms of entertainment. In this case, as stated in the Steam description, Distrust is inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing. While making a game based on a movie directly pretty much always leads to a horrible game that’s usually meant as a cash-grab, being inspired by another form of entertainment with a solid premise can build on the foundation of another idea and give rise something different yet well thought out, so it’s a good place to start.
Even among monster movies, The Thing in particular absolutely screams as inspiration for games, with its ground breaking special effects and horrific monsters and desolate setting. However, in the case of Distrust, they really only paid attention to the setting and characters, while totally forgetting what most people remember from the film, the terrific monsters. However, the harsh unforgiving setting of the arctic circle with its temperature, long nights, lack of supplies, and isolation is also a perfect way to set the mood for a survival game. Within this remote science station, it is your job to survive and find out what happened. You have to deal the weather, but also more mundane tasks like finding shelter and feeding the boilers for warmth. There’s a lot of nice touches here like having to make sure you close all the windows to make sure no heat escapes, and that your HUD ices over while outside.
The crafting, looting, and inventory management are on point, and the isometric aesthetic reminds many of the older Fallout games. The only real obstacle is the enemy of the game, which according to in game clues is some kind of monster, but instead is really just a colorful sphere of radiation that makes you really sick when it gets near you. Its intimidating in that it can kill you fairly easily if you don’t have any light sources, and that it affects you through walls, but its actual design leaves a lot to be desired when compared to its inspiration. Monsters are meant to be scary, and surely radiation is a scary notion to many, but it’s just not the same fear that inspires awe as well.
To help fight the elements as well as the radiation, you have 2 characters to start, and more to come later. They have very distinct designs, with pros and cons to each, which definitely helps tailor each solution to any given problem. There are puzzles of a sort like unlocking the gate, and having different tolerances to the cold became a huge factor in deciding how to approach this new problem. Also, being able to pause the game but still go through menus and change characters was key to figuring things out. It might be considered “easy mode” like in later Fallout games VATS system, but I for one am glad it’s there.
Distrust comes across as very well thought out and has great attention to detail, and is a fun experience for anyone who likes survival games, especially the older ones, but with seriously lackluster monsters, it keeps itself from joining the great games, and with no plot beyond the station, it can’t build enough story to keep people going.