Article by Kieran Burt.
Stranded: Alien Dawn is a new survival sim game by Haemimont Games, giving players the ability to lead a group of stranded survivors from their crashed ship in a harsh and unforgiving environment.
An official announcement trailer was released at Gamescom, featuring a cinematic teaser, alpha footage of the game, and a window for the early release. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t flatter the game.
The trailer starts off with cinematic footage, which, if an audience member knew nothing about the game, sets expectations very high. It features a highly damaged ship emerging out of space travel, and a smaller craft crashing onto the planet. For an unknown, hostile, and alien planet, the surface looks extremely hospitable and much like a bright, lucious field, with fauna and flora alike.
Once the crew emerge, the camera pans into the distance, revealing more of this beautiful landscape. A viewer might be forgiven for thinking this is a survival game similar to Subnautica, where the survivor of that crash must scavenge for murky depths for supplies to repair and upgrade his ship.
Alas, that isn’t what this game is about. The alpha footage of the game brings any expectations of this crashing down as hard as the escape vessel, and not only because of the genre change.
The first image of a house and crops is rather uninspiring, with the green crops in the near the solar panels looking rather 2-D. The house looks very much like those on Earth, along with a defensive wall with mounted weaponry. This isn’t the kind of comfort survivors should be enjoying.
For a tiny group of survivors who crashed on the planet, this level of construction is very impressive, but means the game quickly loses the danger of surviving in a harsh alien world. This kind of static style means there is no urgency, leaving the premise to quickly unravel. It could have been fixed by altering the premise slightly, instead of survivors the crew could arrive safely looking to colonise the planet, only to find that it isn’t as hospitable as they initially thought.
While the trailer itself doesn’t flatter the game, perhaps Haemimont Games past efforts will inspire gamers to pick up the sim. In 2018, the developers released the sim Surviving Mars to positive reception. Stranded: Alien Dawn will come into early access on Steam in October.