Noob Reviews: Observation
This review will be based on Xbox One gameplay. Although I have attempted to avoid spoilers, there may be some included to help explain specific points.
What is Observation?
Observation is a sci-fi thriller set in 2026 which sees you take control of SAM (Systems Administration and Maintenance), the Observation space station’s AI.
After a disturbing event in which the station shuts down suddenly, losing all power and control over its rotation, you find only one human from your crew (Doctor Emma Fisher) to be alive and accounted for. The other five have all disappeared. Just as SAM and Emma begin to explore and search for the missing crew, they discover - where once their orbit took the Observation around Earth. They now appear to be in orbit above Saturn some seven hundred and forty-six miles away. Neither SAM, Emma or the space station’s instruments can explain how they got there.
By adventuring around the space station using cameras throughout the rooms and corridors, or a small spherical droid body, SAM must help Emma work out what is going on. Save the rest of the crew. And message Earth for a rescue mission to be launched whilst keeping the ship itself in one piece by helping fix the damage and open new sections by solving intricate and exciting puzzles that could mean life or death for everyone on board.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Official launch trailer linked from Devolver Digital’s YouTube channel -
What genre is the game?
Observation is a solid adventure puzzle game.
Who created Observation?
Observation was developed by No Code, and published by Devolver Digital.
How long is the game?
Depending on your playstyle, such as sticking to the main story or trying to get all of the achievements, the game can take around eight hours to finish. This is an average taken from multiple ‘how long to beat’ type websites.
My personal playthrough took seven hours, and that was a casual playthrough (been streamed to Twitch) where we were trying to see as much as possible. But admittedly, I missed four achievements.
When was the game released? And what platforms is it available on?
Observation was released on PlayStation 4 and PC in May 2019. And later released on Xbox one in June 2020.
What do you think of Observation?
If Event Horizon had a horror lite game of itself, I would be quite confident in saying that Observation would be it. When playing the game, you immediately get Event Horizon vibes that only continue to grow as you find out more about the Observation, her crew and the types of research carried out on board. However, there are also a lot of Alien: Isolation moments too where you are exploring an ‘abandoned’ space station but will see and hear things that will make you question the evidence before your eyes.
Personally, I loved Observation and found it to be super fun, and as I played it through entirely on stream, chat appeared to love it too. The mix of exploration, puzzle-solving and action was done well. Still, admittedly there was a lot of room for improvement with the puzzles - with many offering little to no help and being on relatively short timers before they reset and you had to restart. Or Emma took over. I found a few puzzles to be frustrating at first but eventually when you start to pick up on the patterns throughout the game, you find puzzles easier (and quicker) to complete the more you carry them out. So essentially learning through repetition.
When it comes to the story, I thought the story was well written, it had a great sense of pacing and revealed itself in such a way that even when you feel you have your head around what is occurring - there is still so much to learn and uncover. That been said, I have seen many a store and review describe Observation as a horror game and full of jumpscares - personally I would say it was horror lite at best with very minimal jump scares. I thought it best to mention this in case the horror element put people off trying it.
Definitely, a game I can recommend trying and should you have the Game Pass for either Xbox or PC, Observation is currently included in both packages. Alternatively, you can pick it up for an average retail price of around 24.99 (both American dollars and British pounds).
What overall rating would you give Observation?
Specific function(s): Puzzle Elements 🍌🍌🍌
I would rate Observation as a 3.8 out of 5 bananas.
A fun and exciting game with a compelling story, excellent exploration potential and challenging puzzles that you can complete in just a few hours. With the Halloween season upon us, I would definitely recommend the game as something you should try - although not horror per se, it definitely has enough creepy moments and things that go bump in the night, to keep you on your toes.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. I hope you enjoyed it. Admittedly, everyone has a different opinion, and all I can do is encourage you to try out this game for yourself and see what you think.