TECHNOSPHERE RELOAD (PC) Review
Look Ma! No Hands!
Drones are quickly becoming a part of our everyday world. Their multi-functional low-cost nature is rapidly making them the go-to option for a variety of tasks. The structural nature of a sphere minimizes the weight and cost of the materials necessary to construct it. Put these two cost-saving ideas together and you create the Technosphere. Uniquely capable of any task that doesn’t require thumbs. However, can this miracle of thumbless engineering save all life on earth? Technosphere Reload seeks to answer that very question.
Technosphere Reload is a puzzle platformer that uses a detailed science fiction inspired environment and real-world physics to create a very entertaining experience. Previously released in beta under the similar name Technosphere, Reload offers many improvements in gameplay and design. Your objective is to maneuver the Technosphere drone through a maze of imposing machinery, narrow catwalks, floating platforms, ramps, and pitfalls. The challenge is that the drone is, in fact, a sphere. Its physics will mimic that of either a golf ball or soccer ball depending on the maze section, and you will be required to control balance, speed, bounce, and even backspin to move forward. The welcome addition of controller support to this release allows for fluid steering and more precision than the previous keyboard option. Other additions to the Reload release include limited lives, an energy meter, and mission timer. You will find that there are multiple paths to reach your goal. Adding an intriguing level of complexity, these limitations now require you to decide whether the payoff of exploring is worth the cost. Despite being able to switch camera angles the distance from the camera remains at a fixed distance. This limits your ability to plan ahead and becomes frustrating when you are required to pan around objects to see how to move forward. As camera pan is gradual, it will cause unwanted movements as your perspective adjusts. Another flaw, a rather large one, is that nowhere are you told what you are, where you are, and what exactly you are supposed to be doing. It’s not necessary for gameplay and there is a summary in the games store page, it’s just odd not to include something in the game itself.
The three-dimensional renderings of each level are striking and stay true to the intended sci-fi aesthetic. Levels are made to feel massive by the use of large background machinery, as well as edges and corners hidden by deep shadows. A refreshing aspect is the use of Volumetric lighting, particularly with the light the shines out of the multiple holes on the surface of the drone. As you move a strobe pattern is created and becoming brighter as you move through shadow and darkness. Missing from the game is any form of background music or soundtrack. While once again not necessary, the absence is notable and its inclusion would help to set the tone.
Overall, Technosphere Reload is a fun roller game. Gameplay and graphics easily make up for the missing narrative and soundtrack. Those that are interested in a challenge or looking for something unique should consider adding it to their collection.