Corpse of Discovery

Corpse of Discovery. Figuring out how to review this creation in the conventional sense was too vertical; the answer was bullets. Begin.

  • Corpse of Discovery is a science-fiction walking simulator with a jetpack.
  • Corpse of Discovery features oneiric vignettes; cycles of missions with degenerating realism across its six chapters.
  • Corpse of Discovery made me feel terrible in parts, elated in others. Games tend not to elicit much on either end of the emotional spectrum, but here we are. 
  • Players take on the role of an astronaut explorer, on assignment on an alien world or worlds.
  • He has a family, one that he misses dearly - or at least, the Corps continues to remind him that he does, and that their appreciation of him is predicated on personal success and accomplishment. Holographic messages punctuate each mission, offering a glimpse at time dilation as they grow older, and perhaps more distant.
  • The examination of time is one central theme in Corpse of Discovery.  
  • A.V.A. is a robotic assistant, one that offers increasingly organic commentary through mission support dialogue across the missions. It begins to analyse far more than xeno-biology, introducing themes such as sacrifice, triumph, loss and disappointment. In A.V.A., I found at first a detached, clinical and utterly cliched conduit for science-fiction babble. A.V.A. then began to discuss topics such as fatherhood. A.V.A. touched on aspects of paternal responsibility, on familial failure and choice. Methods of measurement of success. A.V.A. got right under my skin, making me feel guilty for -- more than once -- agreeing with certain perspectives. These were the times I hated the robot. 
  • Missions are simple orienteering exercises that, at least until the last two 'worlds', offer little resistance or requisite skill. Move to a location, update, move to the next.
  • Scattered around the environment are strange wormhole blips; windows into static memories from the past. These come parceled with snippets of exposition, subtle three-dimensional slides that, for all I know, were true representations of a life once-lived. 
  • Mission Control is off its meds, TV Tropes tells me. Also, A.V.A. is an Unreliable Expositor. 
  • Movement is quite enjoyable, particularly when leaping into the void and engaging the jumpjets. The later stages of the game do require more finesse, particularly with crossing large expanses between terrain or ascending relatively vertical levels. This is a tougher walking simulator simply due to that. 
  • Most worlds are exotic; rich jungles, arid canyon networks and feature-rich. A few are downright oppressive, and generally don't elicit that same sense of excitement to traverse. 
  • A good mix of diegetic and non-diegetic music compliments the layered dreamscape, with clever motifs of whimsy and weirdness interspersing elegant, hopeful climaxes and the quiet undulations of sadness.
  • Corpse of Discovery is the perfect length for a game of its type, clocking in at just over three hours. Further exploration could push it to four. 
  • My astronaut explorer made it home to his family. Or perhaps he thought he did. The smeared depiction of memory, time and reality delivers an experience of ambiguity. A Groundhog Day riff that examines choice in the past tense; damn the mission, the bread is buttered. But all is not lost! Or maybe the situation really is irredeemable. 
  • Lonely thing. Essential for fathers. 
  • Go play with your kids. And this game.