Stranded with no chance of rescue after a collision in space, are your skills enough to survive the harshness of the void in RedRuins Softworks heavily comedic zero gravity survival simulator — Breathedge
Played through as a recollection after the event; Breathedge tells the story of “Man”; who is simply just a man whose grandfather has recently passed away. Upon transporting him to his place of final rest, Man’s transport ship is obliterated by space debris and he is left stranded in deep space with nothing but his own wits to survive.
Recent survival simulators have explored forests, jungles and even the deepest oceans but Breathedge mixes things up in zero gravity from the beginning with a deep space setting. The initial collision has smashed Man’s ship to pieces, with torn pieces of the fuselage, cargo, rockets and various pods making up the explorable landscape with a large number of asteroids dotted in between for good measure.
And explore you must. Simply stalling in the relative safety of your pod you soon come to realise that you have no food and a limited supply of water. You also have a rather helpful resource generator which, if you have the prerequisite elements, can build most if not all of the items you need to survive and progress toward rescue.
If this sounds familiar it’s because it is, it’s the staple premise for nearly every survival game in recent history. So where does Breathedge differ? In it’s humour. Clear from the opening to the end, Breathedge doesn’t take itself seriously and there’s comedy in everything you find, read, use and build to the point the developers have created a parody of the genre.
Within the first 15 mins you’ll have plugged a leak with a chicken, built a phallic ornament, created the resource acquisition tool (a makeshift wrench) and found the dedicated button for urinating. It only continues from there as you locate a potential survivor who feels suspiciously like a spam bot masquerading as a beautiful woman.
None of this explains some of the activity of the opening scenes however but after getting out of the immediate area you’ll spend a fair amount of the story investigating the mysterious Breathedge company and uncover a number of secrets around its corpse powered army.
Like Subnautica before it, Breathedge relies on Oxygen, without it you die, it’s that simple. It’s also scarce and in the beginning you really will be returning back to your starting pod to refresh your supply. Finding new safe areas and mapping out your routes can be essential but also keep an eye on the gauge to ensure you can get back from any quick trip for resources.
Soon after you’ll be creating pods you can deploy nearly anywhere in space which can resupply you. Resupply pods need to recharge before being used again but allow for greater exploration but also more importantly reaching resources, elements and areas that drive the progress of the underlying story.
When you first emerge on your first playthrough the area looks massive, there’s definitely a feeling of scale and it’s somewhat daunting. It does seem to become very manageable fairly quickly once you have a few resources and builds under your belt. Breathedge does a fair job of introducing new mechanics but sometimes it does act like you have played similar games before and misses some training wheels for various more complex elements.
The loop of exploring, scavenging, collecting and building is where the main draw is for Breathedge and it does a decent job of it. Most of the main story has been available in the Early Access and plays on the loop but once you get past this the game seems to leave behind its strengths in favour of a fairly flat final act.
Turning into a corridor shooter with some building mechanics it unfortunately forgets it’s homeland. Although the building is still present, there’s so much to pick up that the survival aspect shifts to simply dodging laser fire either by hiding or using scattered cover. It’s not poor but the earlier sections are much more enjoyable
Breathedge does a great job of presenting the situation. You’d expect from the opening cinematic utter carnage and that’s what you get when you step outside for the first time. That carnage also looks great graphically, if you have the grunt to push the engine it’s a looker. Whether it’s the pieces of the ship, ice on the local asteroids, planets and stars in the distance or just the interior of your pod, it’s all high resolution goodness.
Breathedge is a solid survival sim elevated by a healthy injection of humour but unfortunately flops in its final third from the comedic heights it reaches earlier in the game.
Breathedge is out of Early Access now on PC and is coming to PS4/PS5 soon.