Exo One
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Exo One is an exhilarating game about traveling across alien planets at high speeds. Using a gravity drive to build up momentum before taking to the skies and gliding takes some practice, but the game is a lot of fun once mastered. The storyline is quite mysterious but remains rather vague throughout the game. Nevertheless, despite some finicky parts, the game is a blast and had us looking forward to seeing what each new level had to offer.

Gameplay: Exo One is not a very long game, but it is fun while it lasts and offers a unique experience.

Graphics: The art style for Exo One is superb, and while the visuals lose some of their splendor up close, everything looks great when traveling at high speeds.

Sound: The hypnotic soundtrack and otherworldly sound effects create an atmospheric experience

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Exo One

Developer: Exbleative | Publisher: Future Friends Games, Exbleative | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Casual / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Some time after a space shuttle mission to Jupiter went very wrong, humanity received an alien signal transmitting the blueprints for a new type of craft. Unlike conventional propulsion, this craft functions with the use of a gravity drive that can increase gravity tenfold when engaged. The reason for the blueprints being sent to Earth is unclear, but the sole survivor of the Jupiter mission believes that it was sent for them, and so an interplanetary journey through space and time begins.

Despite the mysterious and intriguing premise for the game, the focus of Exo One is more on the exhilarating feeling of traversing alien landscapes. As a result, the narrative takes a backseat once the action begins, apart from the occasional snippets of distorted speech and flickering static images that appear. Since Exo One is not an ordinary craft, it takes a while to get used to the unique propulsion system, but once players get the hang of it, the real fun begins.

Each level of Exo One is set on a new planet, and players are only required to reach the blue beam of light that can be spotted on the horizon. Between them and this light is a vast, open, alien landscape that can be traversed at breakneck speeds. Some collectibles that can extend the glide duration of Exo One can be found via exploration, but these are not essential to completing the game.

By default, Exo One can roll across the landscape in a spherical form that generates energy in the process. Holding down the gravity drive button on downward slopes allows players to build up momentum, which can then be used to launch the craft into the air with the jump button. Once airborne, players can hold down a button to change Exo One into a saucer shape, which is great for gliding. Exo One will continue to glide until its energy reserves are depleted and then fall back down to the ground, where the process can be repeated. While gliding, players can also use the gravity drive to cause Exo One to perform a steep dive, generating some energy, building up speed, and extending the glide duration. Mastering this technique makes it possible to reach colossal speeds and cause the craft to soar to exhilarating heights.

In addition to the thrilling gameplay, Exo One also boasts some incredible visuals. Each level looks distinct, and the diffused graphics allows for some breathtaking vistas. These are best experienced while traveling at incredible speeds, as the visuals lose some of their splendor up close and at slower speeds. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer spectacle of lightning storms, erupting volcanoes, and meteors falling from the sky around you on some levels.

Some levels share similarities with Earth, thanks to trees, grass, and oceans, while others feel utterly alien. Weather effects, like raindrops smearing the screen, add to the immersion and the game also foregoes a HUD in favor of your craft itself function as an indicator for its energy levels. The game also uses visual glitches or color changes when traveling at incredible speeds to indicate how fast you are going. Unfortunately, when things slow down, the camera can become a little more cumbersome, especially if you manage to get your craft wedged somewhere it doesn’t belong.

Using an electric guitar for the soundtrack of a science fiction game like Exo One might not sound like it would be a good match, but it works surprisingly well. In addition to the hypnotic soundtrack, the game is filled with otherworldly sound effects and great ambient noises. From the sound of wind rushing past your craft to the muffled sounds of impact, Exo One is best experienced with a decent pair of headphones. The eerie, distorted voices used for the narration also add a sense of alienation to the game, although subtitles are provided to clarify what is being said. There’s a slight learning curve to the controls, but once mastered, it is easy to control Exo One using a keyboard and mouse or controller. In addition to the gravity drive and gliding, players can use jump and double-jump to maneuver their craft. Some levels shake things up by placing the craft inside another device or taking away some functions, but the best levels are definitely the ones where you have complete control.

Exo One is undoubtedly a unique and entertaining game, but some players might find it frustrating if they are not willing to master the controls. Some levels are also better than others, and overall, the game is extremely short. Our first playthrough was over in less than three hours, and the game even has an achievement for completing it in less than sixty minutes. Speedrunners who enjoy shaving off seconds from their times via repeated playthroughs will have a blast, but players only interested in a single playthrough might be less impressed. The story, which never really clears things up, might also be a little too vague for some players.

Despite some issues, including having to restart one level because our craft got stuck, we enjoyed our time with Exo One. It is genuinely exciting to see what each new level has to offer, and soaring high above the clouds of an alien planet is something that few games have to offer. Players who enjoy games that are more about the journey than the destination will have fun with Exo One, as will those who like games that don’t overstay their welcome or pad things out unnecessary.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7 or higher
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2ghz or AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 650 or higher with 1GB memory
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 1060 or higher
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 5 GB available space

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