A few week ago, closer to Solstice Chronicles: MIA’s July 27 release date, I blasted my way through the first few story mode levels before the game’s unforgiving difficulty level strained the fun out of the game. At that time, I was more than okay with letting the game fade into being just another game in my Steam library that never gets re-installed. Fast-forward to now, and I decided to give Solstice Chronicles one more chance. The publisher gave me a copy of the game to play, and while I know I’m not obligated to write anything about a game that I’m given, I still feel guilty if I don’t do anything with it.
So I decided to load into Solstice Chronicles: MIA one last time before I shelved the game.
I skipped the Story mode and went right into the Survival Mode. Remembering my difficulty with the difficulty was definitely not difficult, so I selected the Recruit setting (the easiest mode) and was transferred to a load-out screen where I saw my soldier and how completely unprepared he was for combat. All of the options were unavailable to me besides an assault rifle, a submachine gun, and a pistol. All of the perks and extra fancy-pants options were locked away, presumably for players who put more time and effort into the game. I wasn’t too keen on heading into what I expected to be a hellish experience with basically an astronaut suit and some dinky weaponry, but I knew I had to start somewhere, so off I went on my first Survival mission.
I was dropped on a dimly-lit Martian landscape. The red planet’s dust swirled in the endless winds, and the little light posts strung up here and there did little against the oppressive darkness of the dust storm. I was informed that my mission was to restart power at four power stations and then hightail it back to the evacuation zone for pick-up. The longer I took, the tougher the enemies would become, but the better the loot would become. It’s tried-and-true, risk/reward system that I’ve seen before in games.
I was accompanied by a little floating robot that could do things like find me loot or, if necessary, blow itself up so I could escape from an overwhelming wave of monsters.
Using the WASD keys for movement, and aiming with the mouse, I moved effortlessly through the starting area. A few monsters scurried in at me but a few bursts from my assault rifle blew them apart like I was shooting a pinata. My flashlight sliced through the darkness, revealing abandoned equipment, a few more monsters, and some much-needed ammunition. Without hesitation, I scooped up that ammo because I knew it was only a matter of time before the trickle of monstrosities grew to a deadly tsunami of gnawing mouths and screaming sacks of flesh.
Sure enough, a few moments later, after initiating power at the second station, all hell broke loose.
Waves of the easy-to-kill monsters filled my screen while a few monsters, oddly shaped like tires, rolled in at me. My ammo count was quickly approaching empty, and I knew I wouldn’t last very long without more firepower. I sprinted away and sought the cover of the power station that I had just re-activated. I had my back to a wall and was filling the air with led. I glanced inside the station, a desperate attempt at locating more supplies, and saw a box that I had somehow missed. It was an automatic turret. I had my drone pick it up and we promptly evacuated the area as my screen continued to fill with more monsters.
This is where I took a gamble. I had no idea how this turret would work. As I instructed my drone to set it out in a very open, very exposed, position, I hoped that the turret would have a 360-degree field of fire, and could take advantage of the open space to help me fend off the monsters. To my relief, the turret worked as I needed it to, and after a short assembly time, it was active and blasting apart any monsters it detected. At this point, I instructed my drone to ustilize the Scout ability and it flew off and began periodically returning and dropping off ammo and weapons that it found in the surrounding area.
For awhile, everything was going well. My turret had my back, the drone was supplying me with enough ammo and weaponry to fend off the frenzied mass of monsters that were at this point, pouring in from every side, and slowly I realized that I might just actually be having fun.
And then Solstice Chronicles: MIA broke.
My character was somehow pulled beneath the map, and my screen went blank except for the user-interface, and the player model. I could run in place, shoot, and swing my melee attack, but that was it. I could still hear the monsters scrambling somewhere above me; the game continued even as I was stranded in this glitched purgatory. I waited a few minutes and when nothing happened, I sighed, closed the game, and uninstalled Solstice Chronicles: MIA.
Solstice Chronicles: MIA currently holds a “Mostly positive” rating on Steam. It does not seem like bugs are a prevalent issue, in the handful of user reviews I read through, though a few reviews mention graphical glitches, which I guess my situation applies to. Regardless, a lot of people seem to enjoy Solstice Chronicles: MIA, but if you’re looking for my opinion: Helldivers is a better option that provides a more refined, very similar gameplay experience.
A copy of this game was provided to Epic Brew by the publisher. Trailer from Gamespot Trailers’s YouTube channel. Screenshots taken from the Solstice Chronicles: MIA Steam store page and from the author’s own gameplay experience.