Game Review: Tacoma (Xbox One X)

Tacoma is an adventure video game by Fullbright released on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

Tacoma is a narrative-driven adventure set aboard a high-tech space station in the year 2088. Explore every detail of how the station’s crew lived and worked, finding clues that add up to a gripping story of trust, fear, and resolve in the face of disaster.

Tacoma is an exploration game set aboard a seemingly-empty space station in 2088. The player-character, Amy, has an augmented reality (AR) device that allows her to review actions and conversations of the non-player characters that were part of crew that had been aboard the station; these can be manipulated like a recording, fast-forwarding or rewinding as necessary. This allows the player to either watch as characters move in and out of rooms, or to even follow a character through the station. This is used to help identify clues to proceed further in the game, such as to identify the key code for a locked door. The AR device also has a fictional email system where additional information is relayed to the player.

Three days prior, the station was hit by meteor impacts striking Tacoma’s oxygen tanks and communications array, causing the station to lose all but 50 hours’ worth of oxygen as well as any means of sending a distress signal. E.V. & Clive voluntarily entered cryogenic pods to extend the remaining oxygen supply, followed by Andrew after he uses algae on the station to extend the supply further. The remaining crew decided to spend the time they have left jury-rigging an automated drone to act as an escape pod so the crew could escape to the nearby Moon.

Will they make it out alive? Will the past few hours of tension building pay off with a tragic ending filled with sacrifice and heartbreak?

In a word, no. Tacoma is a lot of things. Incredibly detailed, well voice-acted, and easy to fully immerse yourself in. But, the ending is so dissatisfying that it leaves you with no reaction except “oh…”

In an attempt to not spoil the ending, I’ll just say that it ends positively and in a happy way. Not what you expected, eh? Me neither. Tacoma builds up this tiny, detailed world full of atmosphere and an encompassing sense of dread and then throws it all away at the last moment.

Obviously the ending sets Tacoma apart from other games and makes it different, but it’s simply not good storytelling. You can’t create a quality, interactive and engrossing tale that ends happily all round with no real complications. It leaves you feeling like a chump for investing in, searching and reading everything you could find. Additionally, it destroys any replayability.

Overall, Tacoma is a nice change up for all other games. It’s calming and stress free with some tension that’s relieved in the end. But this sacrifices the story and investment you have in it. I enjoyed the mechanics of the game and it was clever how each character fits together into conversations. It’s unfortunate they chose to change lanes at the last second. If you’re looking for a relaxing game that looks gorgeous and really sucks you into the story, then Tacoma is waiting for you. But maybe don’t expect anything conventional waiting for you at the end.




Tacoma
  • The Final Score - 6/10
    6/10
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Liked it? Take a second to support Sally 'Fleshmechanic' Powell on Patreon!