Observation review – a simple puzzler elevated by its sublime atmosphere

May 21, 2019
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Developer No Code has tirelessly described Observation as “2001 but from the perspective of HAL”, a proposition that is as intriguing as it is unique, especially coming from a studio that features several people who used to work on Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation.

Observation begins after an unexplained incident on the LOSS – short for Low Orbit Space Station – which sits in orbit around Earth. You hear a crew member frantically try to make contact with mission control, but around you everything is dark until the runaway space station spins past a light source, revealing nothing but a floating helmet and other wayward equipment.

It immediately instills a sense of unease, a feeling that doesn’t lift throughout the entire experience. Soon after this your role becomes clear. You’re Sam (voiced brilliantly coldly by Anthony Howell), the station’s System, Administration and Maintenance, alone with the crew doctor Emma Fisher (Kezia Burrows, a familiar voice given the setting after her role as Amanda Ripley in Alien Isolation). Emma has just gotten her bearings when a mysterious outside force tampers with your system and gives you one command: Bring Her. This leads Sam to make his first independent decision – he unceremoniously moves the whole station to Saturn.

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