The game's Steam description says it all "Corpse of Discovery is not for everyone". It is a self-professed walking simulator. But that is not an expression I personally use - I prefer to describe it as a narrative adventure, digital tourism if you will. Offering me the opportunity to explore new worlds within its fascinating story.
Boldly going, and going, and going
To put it more simply, I am one of the people Corpse of Discovery is made for. Mechanically it is a simple first person perspective game. It feels a little floaty, but as the whole thing is set on alien worlds this is easily forgiven. The thing is, if you are worrying about how the jet jump feels or the fact you don't have much to do, then you are missing the point.
Corpse of Discovery is about exploration and the journey you take through life. I know that sounds pretentious, however in this case the game is literally about life.
The game starts with a press conference that announces the loss of a space shuttle, and the unlikelihood of a rescue attempt. Cut to you, alone in a tiny prefab structure on the surface of a planet.
Leaving the structure you are greeted by a red alien world that you are told you must map with the help of your AVA unit. This company owned helper robot constantly bugs you in an even, monotone voice providing advice and encouragement.
Some early game spoilers coming up
The cold voice continually lets you know that it is "Trying to contact a rescue team", and how "Once you are finished you can retire and enjoy life with your family". It's a struggle to believe it though. And, as you finish the last task the AVA runs out of power, you find out why: help is not coming. Was there ever?
Then, billions of miles from Earth, you find a statue of your family on a desolate alien world.
But that is the first twist, and from there you find yourself on other detailed worlds, trying to tease apart the tale. It is a dream? Are you a clone? Every intelligent sci-fi book or movie you know comes to mind as you try to unravel the clues and decipher events.
While walking the worlds your helmet's HUD flickers guiding you to hints about your new, fractured life: a coffee cup on a lush alien world or a strange orb that shows you portals to your past. These discoveries encourage you to question life before this, leaving you wondering what lead you here and the nature of your new existence.
Unfortunately, the narrative isn’t the only thing that is fractured. The game's world frequently brakes resulting in you dropping unexpectedly through the floor to your death and causing you to curse the poor checkpoint system. Add to this a frame rate that's as unstable as a hyper-giant star, and at times Corpse Discovery is a rough ride.
Off on a technicality
I’ll be honest, Corpse of Discovery's technical flaws solved a problem for me. While I really enjoyed it, my opinion swung back-and-forth between a score of a six and an eight as my interest ebbed and waned between story elements. But with the world geometry and horrible frame rate dips, my conundrum was answered.
Not that that should stop you. If you enjoy films like Moon, or games like Dear Esther – as I do - Corpse of Discovery is great, just don't expect it to be a smooth ride.