Like every game in Antarctica you’ll probably be inclined to compare this to The Thing, but aside from the location they don’t really have that much in common.
The Thing, despite the head-with-legs running around and all that stuff, was mainly psychological horror about being trapped with people and not knowing who to trust. Since you’re the only one here, unless you’re having some kind of identity crisis–and now is definitely not the time–that shouldn’t be a problem.
No, this game takes its cues from Resident Evil. The older ones, that is. It’s more survival than horror, and it uses many of the same devices to keep you on edge: limited saves, limited ammo, limited items, limited inventory space. Limited everything, pretty much.
The main limit is the one imposed by the cold. This where it gets kind of interesting. Your surroundings are constantly sucking the heat out of you and while you can slow it down to some degree you can never stop it completely. I naively thought that when I finally started up the generator I’d put and end to that, but my hopes soon faded along with my body temperature.
So it ends up being a race against the clock. Like all time limits, that does get a little bit annoying at certain points when you just want to stop and think, and in a longer game it probably would be excruciating; but this one is short and simple enough to make it work. In fact, the cold propels you along with an extra sense of urgency that you don’t always get when you’re just being chased by mutants or whatever (although you get some of that, too).
The game communicates well with the player, explicitly via your temperature status as well as implicitly. In one part, for example, you need to open a lock and the solution is to remember that when you were walking around looking at stuff you saw a birthday card tacked up on the bulletin board in the hallway, and like most people she probably just used her birthday for the combo. For a little thing, that was actually pretty slick design. It melded much more smoothly with the environment than just slapping a calendar on the wall with the date circled in red, which a less thoughful game might do. You have to put two and two together, but it’s not so obscure that no normal person would make the connection.
Apparently this was made by one guy, and I’ve gotta say, he did a good job. A consistently playable little experience. What else can you ask for from a free game like this?