Corpse of Discovery

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Corpse of Discovery Game Poster Image
Psychological space tale has confusing, repetitive gameplay.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Tells you of "noble" purpose of your mission, then immediately suggests you're better off without family ties. Hard to determine what's real, what's the mind playing tricks.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play an astronaut stranded on alien worlds with an autobot companion named A.V.A. But astronaut may be losing his mind, robot could be driving him insane; neither a good role model.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn. Content could be psychologically intense for some younger players.

Violence

No graphic violence; when players die, game merely resets. But assault on the player's mind smacks of dementia, complete mental breakdown that can leave an uneasy feeling on some gamers.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Corpse of Discovery is a downloadable platformer-like exploration game that deals with older, mature themes such as corporations lying to workers, the possibility of mental illness, and emotions involving duty to family. The game flips the player through hallucinations and surreal elements (such as finding pizza on a table on an alien planet) before grounding the player by dodging radiation attacks and making long jumps over deep chasms. The game may well be a bit too intense psychologically for younger players. There's no objectionable content; the game restarts when a player "dies," and no violence is shown. But the autobot that is Major's (the character) companion undermines his mental stability, promoting the nobility of sacrifice for his family one moment and questioning the necessity of a family in the next.

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What's it about?

CORPSE OF DISCOVERY is a single-player exploration game that centers on an astronaut -- simply known as "Major" -- who appears to be stranded on a variety of alien worlds. Each awakening begins with mission parameters that involve Major running across the landscape of the world, locating an object in the hopes that he'll make a discovery so beneficial he'll be rescued from this nightmare. Back home, supposedly reaping the benefits bestowed on them by the company, is Major's family, who send messages stating how much he's missed. But each successful completion amps up the uncertainty of what's real or mental trickery. As he explores the planet, Major will have to contend with deadly radiation levels, huge chasms to jump over with his jet pack, and planets that present any number of obstacles separating him from his goals.

Is it any good?

What begins as a great premise quickly devolves into repetitious gaming. Corpse of Discovery bogs down with the same feel to each one of its missions, even though the landscapes of its planets are diverse and graphically pleasing. For example, in each mission, Major is searching for something in the hope that this discovery will bring a rescue crew to deliver him home. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a constant lie, with Major getting shuttled from one place to another in service to a corporation clearly serving its own interests. The problem is that he constantly performs the same tasks over and over again, without any deviation in tasks; even some of the dialogue seems to be the same from planet to planet. That makes the gameplay stale, boring, and repetitive.

It's quite apparent that the game developers wanted players to question the fabric of the game's reality, and they've done a good job of keeping everything just real enough to make the missions seem plausible before twisting it away. For instance, during some missions, Major tracks down something highly improbable, such as a rock with a tablecloth on it and an ice cream cone in the middle. Plus, Major's companion autobot further undermines his mental stability, promoting the nobility of sacrifice one moment and questioning the necessity of a family the next. Though that helps shore up the mental effects the player experiences, it doesn't do enough to improve the gameplay. This not only becomes draining, but, combined with the lack of any revelations or answers, it teeters on frustrating. The overall effect is a game that dives into confusion, evades answers, and drives home themes through repetition instead of being intriguing and fresh.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about exploration. What are the benefits of exploring unknown lands? What are the hazards? Why would someone want to do something that's this dangerous?

  • Discuss mental stability. Do you think that the character, Major, is losing his mind? Are the things he's seeing real, or are they all obvious hallucinations?

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