As someone who loves System Shock; the premise of an abandoned hotel with an AI system seemed like a match made in heaven. The cyberpunk aestethic was just icing on the cake. But did Static from Dogwood Gaming live up to my expectations? Let’s find out!
AI, madness and eerie messages
The story of Static is an interesting one. The game starts with you waking up as the owner of a hotel not having any recollection of yesterday. Everyone is gone and the only company you have is the hotel AI. The AI whose name is unfortunately not Shodan is the key to getting out of the hotel and figuring out what has happened to everyone. Besides the AI telling you the story, you can also find recordings of the residents along with written recollections of last night. The story is not groundbreaking by any means but it is immersive and interesting.
Static, puzzles and walking sim
The core gameplay mechanics are puzzles, finding “static” and walking around. The puzzles are simple, very simple. If you click around for long enough you will find the key that leads to the next floor or if you read the terminals you will find the password. The static are memories and the main collectible. You find them by following audio cues and then look for a misplaced item and BAM you got a static. Other than listening to audio cues and solving puzzles Static is more or less a walking simulator. The core gameplay is not that interesting and with some of the audio cues feeling out of place it can be quite frustrating to find the misplaced items.
Options, bugs and noise
Whenever I start any game the first thing I do is check out the options. Sadly there is only one option. A sliding brightness setting and that’s it. I would have liked to at least have some sound and maybe control settings. The game audio has one big bug that gets under my skin. When I play I usually walk around and explore while listening to the AI tell the story. The issue is that whenever I enter a new room the new audio file starts, and overlaps into a cacophony of noise. In a game that uses sound as the main gameplay element, this is a huge issue; but hopefully it is an issue that will be fixed in a later patch. Lastly, I really wanted an option to turn off the semi motion blur since playing the game for an extended period of time made me nauseous.
Static has potential. It has a good story and some great atmosphere. Unfortunately, it is a stunted experience because of its lacking gameplay and audio bugs. With the current state of Static, I cannot recommend it unless you are super into stories about AI. The game is 3.99 EUR or your country’s equivalent and available on Steam.