Game Review | Fort Solis is Lifeless on Mars

Indie developer Fallen Leaf’s latest offering, Fort Solis, has landed on the gaming scene with a whimper rather than a bang. The third-person adventure game aims to captivate players with its Mars-set narrative and intriguing premise, but ultimately falls short of its potential. As players traverse the desolate landscapes of the Red Planet, they find themselves grappling with a lackluster story, clunky gameplay mechanics, and a sense of disengagement that mars the overall experience.

From the get-go, Fort Solis fails to provide players with compelling characters to invest in. The protagonist, grizzled engineer Jack Leary, treads familiar territory as yet another addition to the line of rough-and-tough engineers that have populated countless video games. Jack’s interactions with his crewmates, including the helpful yet underdeveloped Jessica, fail to deliver the depth necessary to drive players’ emotional investment in the unfolding events. This lack of character complexity contributes to the overall feeling of detachment players experience as they navigate the game.

One of Fort Solis’s major pitfalls lies in its misuse of the walking simulator genre. While the game’s Mars base provides an attractive visual backdrop, it fails to harness the genre’s immersive potential. The narrative’s lack of meditative rhythm and the absence of impactful choices deprive players of the emotional engagement that can make walking simulators compelling experiences. Additionally, the game’s attempt at immersion backfires with its inconvenient map interface, causing frustration rather than enhancing the experience.

The inclusion of quick time events only exacerbates Fort Solis’ gameplay woes. The poorly executed quick time events disrupt pacing and often feel irrelevant to the overall story. Despite their presence, scenes still unfold in a scripted manner, rendering player input inconsequential. Furthermore, the cumbersome space suits that characters wear make the act of walking feel awkward and slow, further compounding players’ sense of detachment and frustration.


The game’s narrative also stumbles, caught between the desire to be enigmatic and the need to offer a coherent storyline. The story’s attempts at mystery fall flat due to predictability, leaving players unengaged and detached from the unfolding events. Despite the occasional glimpses of well-crafted design and narrative decisions, the lack of cohesion prevents players from forming a solid understanding of the game’s events and characters.

Fort Solis misses the mark as a memorable gaming experience. Its lackluster characters, clunky mechanics, and disjointed narrative combine to create an underwhelming journey through Martian landscapes. The promising visual design and sporadic narrative highlights cannot salvage the overall sense of disengagement and confusion that players are likely to encounter. Fallen Leaf’s effort ultimately leaves players with a lingering sense of earthly disappointment in a game that should have soared among the stars.

As players conclude their trek through Fort Solis, it becomes evident that the game’s shortcomings have a cumulative impact on the overall experience. Even the presence of a mysterious killer roaming the base fails to inject the desired level of suspense and thrills into the narrative. While actors Roger Clark, Julia Brown, and Troy Baker bring their characters to life with compelling performances, their efforts are hindered by the lackluster material they are given to work with.

One of the standout aspects of Fort Solis lies in its visual design. The abandoned Martian base, replete with malfunctioning terminals and relics of a bygone era, presents a striking backdrop. Fallen Leaf succeeds in creating an environment that hints at a deeper narrative, inviting players to explore its nooks and crannies. However, this attention to detail only highlights the disappointing gameplay mechanics and narrative inconsistencies that plague the game.

The disappointment surrounding Fort Solis raises broader questions about the indie gaming landscape. As indie developers strive to deliver unique and captivating experiences, the bar is set high for titles that aim to stand out among the crowd. Fort Solis’ failure to fully capitalize on its premise highlights the challenges indie developers face in balancing narrative depth, engaging mechanics, and technical execution.

In a gaming industry marked by innovation and creative exploration, Fort Solis’ underwhelming reception serves as a reminder that delivering a successful experience is a delicate balancing act. While the game’s potential is evident in its design and sporadic narrative moments, the overall package falls short of expectations. As players and developers alike reflect on Fort Solis’ shortcomings, it underscores the importance of cohesion between narrative, gameplay, and technical execution in crafting memorable gaming experiences.

Fort Solis is a missed opportunity in the world of indie gaming. While the game’s visual design and voice performances offer glimmers of promise, they are overshadowed by lackluster character development, clunky gameplay mechanics, and a narrative that fails to deliver on its enigmatic premise. As players navigate the Martian landscapes, they are left with a sense of detachment and confusion, ultimately highlighting the challenges indie developers face in creating engaging and cohesive gaming experiences.

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