Out of Time
In game creation, it’s interesting to see developers’ visions come to life. No two games are alike; with all sorts of quirks and design choices separating them. Some games prioritize a central mechanic, others focus on online play. OPUS: The Day We Found Earth solely prioritizes its story.
There’s something innately magnetic about OPUS. Even if you read the description, there’s still so much left to the imagination. The mystery and wonder surrounding this game begged me to play it. Despite being a port of a mobile game, OPUS grabbed hold of me from the very start and guided me all the way through.
Simple in Design
Typically, I’ll talk about story and then gameplay, but OPUS is where I’ll make the exception. Its gameplay clearly took the backseat, as it’s not varied or particularly engaging. As the robot Emeth, you’ll be operating an interstellar telescope in the hopes of scouring the universe until you find Earth. The gameplay itself just sees you controlling this telescope and scanning planets, interrupting each discovery to give you more story information. From a gameplay perspective, there’s not a lot to OPUS, but that’s not the focal point to the game.
You begin OPUS as a robot named Emeth who is created by Doctor Lisa to work with her in finding Earth. Did I mention that the game takes place thousands of years in the future? Humanity has since moved on from Planet Earth, but their race is dying out. The only way they can preserve the species is by finding their origin point and getting the key to their health.
Shortly we are introduced to the game’s characters, Emeth falls asleep and wakes up a long time after. All of the humans on the satellite are gone and he’s only accompanied by an AI who looks and behaves exactly like the Doctor that created him.
This premise alone was enough to get my brain thinking. Despite starring an adorable robot and simple gameplay, there’s a poetic loneliness to OPUS. I knew that the Doctor was likely deceased, but seeing Emeth still cling to the hope that she could be alive was both heartwarming and painful. His “just one more” attitude carries the game forward and extends into how I played it. I was constantly ready to search for just one more planet in the hopes of getting closer to Earth and getting answers about humanity.
I won’t spoil how everything pays off, but all of the themes of loneliness, discovery, love, and perseverance all come together at the end in a way that was satisfying and simultaneously ripped my heart out and threw it away. There was a constant emotional investment in OPUS that is rare for games, especially ones that cost only $4.99.
One Time Through
Being just a mere $4.99 and a port of a mobile game, there’s not a lot of content to OPUS. Instead of letting it hinder the experience, Sigono has used it to their advantage. The game will take you two hours at the most, but every bit of fluff is thrown out the door. Every bit of dialogue between Emeth and the AI Doctor develops their characters more as well as gives the player just a little more info about what’s going on. It’s a game that demands to be played from start to finish in one go, and I was intrigued every step of the way.
It’s also important to note that the sound design in OPUS perfectly replicates its bleak yet hopeful structure. The tracks emphasize the beauty of space while still reminding you that Emeth has lost everyone he knows. The graphics are likewise simplistic and, while not nearly as impressive as the narrative or soundtrack, do impress for a mobile game. It’s amazing to me that some of the best indie games on the Switch that I’ve reviewed this year were originally mobile titles like Cat Quest.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for OPUS: The Day We Found Earth was provided by CIRCLE Entertainment for this review.