The Fullbright Company takes gamers to a desolate space station with their new walking simulator Tacoma. Should you solve the mysteries behind its crew (and cat), or is this one vessel not worth boarding?
Employed by the Venturis Corporation, Amyitjyoti Ferrier boards the abandoned space station Tacoma with the goal of collecting data for the organization. However, AR technology has recorded the lives of the six crew members that lived there – though the organization told her not to not look into things, she does the exact opposite and dives into the minutiae of their lives. Though she cannot interact with these people directly, she can play, rewind, fast forward, and replay these interactions, and piece together what happened before her arrival. There is an open dialog with the AI ODIN, but interactions are few and far between.
The story, while not the most in-depth in the world, is told through these interactions and logs found. While it is interesting to see how the crew reacts to strife and interactions with others, there is some noticeable disconnect from not being able to interact with them directly. It is far more passive than your typical video game, and feels more like a museum than a fleshed out interaction. There are different quarters on the ship, from the medical bay to engineering to the food storage, each with a different vibe. There are also some additional details to be found about each character by following different people around and seeing them dick around in their quarters, but there are rooms that literally have nothing but junk to pick up and examine. If you ever wanted to look at trash and apples, this is your game. Most players can finish this title in a short hour and a half, though this can be padded out if players scour every nook and cranny. Still, it can be polished off in a single play session.
As for the cast itself, the personalities can be hit and miss. The writing feels a bit hipsterish at times, with logs and dialog a bit more juvenile and trendy than the status quo. Despite being the crew of an advanced space station in the year 2088, everybody acts like a bunch of 20-somethings in college. In addition, though the cast comes from vastly different backgrounds, it sometimes feels forced, like they wanted to meet their diversity quotient rather than carefully craft each character. Good and evil are also painted as black and white, with no moral gray area to speak off. It feels a little too unrealistic, and takes you out of the game.
Tacoma tries to tell a tale in a unique way, but does not quite achieve its vision. The disconnect between the player and the characters, along with the short length, make it a hard sell for fans of walking simulators.