Morningstar: Alone In The Universe

by on Feb.12, 2015, under featured, Morningstar

Morningstar is what is known as an “escape game”. What this means is that you are trapped somewhere and your primary goal is to find a way to escape your current situation. In this case you’re stranded on a deserted planet with no means of getting off it from the start. That’s the catalyst for exploring your surroundings and figuring out what to do to get the ship back up and running. Otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. What you do find out while wandering around, though, add significantly to the plot.

As soon as you exit your craft you’re immediately hit with the feeling of being alone and isolated from the rest of the universe. And not just because your ship is busted. Beyond the neverending sea of sand there are areas that you can explore that add to the feeling of abandonment. In particular you’ll be forced to come upon an ancient alien ruin, devoid of life and any semblance of recent activity beyond the remains of another human crew stranded the same way as the Morningstar.

It leaves one to wonder what happened and why they left. Assuming they even left in the first place and weren’t just wiped out in some way. Between the wreckage of the Armstrong and the ruins, it’s almost like walking among a graveyard. Eerie and disturbing in its utter silence.

It’s pretty obvious that the majority of the influences in the game are taken from the science-fiction genre. Most notably the tales where being alone and isolated in a far off “island” of space take place. For example, it takes some cues from the movies Aliens and Pitch Black, among others. Shots of the landscape and the obvious lack of people around add to the atmosphere of not knowing what’s around the corner. The danger lies in the consciousness of the protagonist and their companions. Whether it’s real or imagined usually doesn’t matter as long as the feeling is being conveyed to the player/watcher/reader.

Contrast this with the more shiny and modern universe filled with aliens of all sorts. A story taking place on a fully staffed research station is a far cry from one taking place where there is nobody to greet you. Even when there are others about they’re mostly either doomed already or on their way to the grave. Morningstar is no different as you’ll come across several bodies strewn about in several screens, left as they were when they finally passed on. Seeing the lifeless forms in their death throes just add to the heightened awareness that Novak and Powell could come to the same fate as the crew of the Armstrong if they don’t do something to fix the ship and blast off.

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Serena Nelson
Social Media Intern
Phoenix Online Studios


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