I didn’t play 2016’s ADIOS — Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space, but from what I’ve played of ADIOS Amigos, it’s evident that it was a diamond left buried in the rough.
That said, if in 2016 you had said to me, ‘It’s a game about travelling from planet to planet, scavenging resources and juggling trajectories,’ then I’d not have been sold. It was a year for scavenging resources on planets, with No Man’s Sky and Elite Dangerous: Horizons among a bevy of releases along those lines, as well as a mass of games with similar pitches — including the exceptional Long Journey Home — on the horizon.
ADIOS’ — and by extension ADIOS Amigos’ — unique points against those contenders come in the game’s scale, physics and artwork.
As evidenced in the trailer below, the hand-drawn artwork is absolutely fantastic and looks brilliant in motion — with the odd, procedurally distributed hodge-podge of items and creatures all knocking other objects around effortlessly (that would be the physics I mentioned).
The third element I mentioned was scale, and that’s most certainly better showcased with the alpha footage of the game. Instances and dynamic split-screen let players leave one another stranded on distant planets — and obviously also do far less malicious things. A massive brick in the way of the last thing to scan on the planet? Rather than nudging or hooking it with your shuttle, you can instead have a few players tug on it to move it. Something sinister guarding a resource? Create diversions to draw it away.
There are a few things to consider on each planet. For a start, you and your amigos will want to gather as much fuel as you can. You’ll also want to spot everything on the planet, as there are rewards for cataloguing the lifeforms and objects that occupy each planetoid you cross paths with.
Aside from bashing into rocks in space there are also floating space shuttles and space stations you can rummage through. Perhaps most fun, however, is manoeuvring alongside them and draining them of fuel. You can also rocket into the Sun, but we were advised to not do this, and when we did we brought the early demo build to its knees.
Back in the realm of not-firing-yourselves-into-a-sun, however, you can align yourself with a planet’s trajectory and intercept it as part of its impressive astrophysics-based design.
Much like previously mentioned games, each solar system is instanced, with each Z-Space jump drawing a clear line between the instances. This does give the game an arcade-esque feel, which probably works well for players who are chasing high-scores, but is also discrete enough to not interrupt those who are playing the game’s Rookie Mode, which strips out certain elements (like temperature) to lower the difficulty level.
The ship controls are a little bit Lunar Lander, which regular readers will know doesn’t sit well with me, but the time I spent playing the co-operative build of the game at the Sweden Games Festival late last year was time well spent.
Where ADIOS suffered was likely due to its high-score race gameplay. While that hasn’t been changed for ADIOS Amigos, the inclusion of co-operative gameplay and an — according to developers — almost doubling of game art assets, is sure to help bring the game to a newer audience.
ADIOS Amigos launches on Xbox One, PS4 and PC in 2018.