There is an art to storytelling. The art requires the storyteller to properly set things up right at the beginning and hook the listener immediately. The art does not stop there. The storyteller then needs to ensure to cultivate, nurture and grow the story such that the listener bonds with the characters and becomes immersed in the environment and feels like they are there living the story. This is an art that Disney has perfected. I cannot recall how many people have told me how they cried in the first seven minutes of UP, how many people fell in love with Wall-E almost instantly, or how people went through the ups and downs of the romantic short that was Paperman. This is an art that is very hard to do, yet SIGONO was able to accomplish this with OPUS: The Day We Found Earth.
OPUS weaves a very simple yet profound story. The game is set far in the distant future, when humans have left Earth to live among the stars. Earth is such a forgotten memory that it has become myth more than truth and the belief in its existence has become a religion called “Earthology”. The human gene pool has deteriorated after too much genetic tampering, and scientists believe that by tracing back to the oldest sample of genes found on Earth will help them restore their genetic structure.
You play as Emeth a childlike robot created by a scientist named Lisa. You are on a spacestation/telescope named OPUS that was deployed to complete Project Earth to save the human race. For unknown reasons OPUS shuts down along with all of its systems. Emeth and the station reactivate after an extended hibernation and Emeth finds himself alone on the ship only remembering what Lisa had taught him to do, find Earth among the stars.
The gameplay is very straightforward, you go out into the galaxy with the telescope and find star systems, with clues and hints about the location of the planet, in hopes of identifying a planet that is a perfect match to Earth. After each planet you discover a bit more of the story is presented to the player. This is where the game shines, the developers and writers peel the layers of the story, like an onion, to just the right point that you want to look for that next planet to get more of the story. When you get that piece of the story, you also learn and grow with Emeth and feel the distress he feels when he can’t find his creator and teacher Lisa. As you continue with the story, the spacestation slowly repairs itself and sections of it opens up to provide clues such as: books, notes, corrupted logs and experiments that adds another clue to help you help Emeth find Earth and what happened to Lisa.
The music in OPUS was written, produced and recorded by Taiwanese musician Triodust and it fits the game beautifully. It provides a sense that you are in the deep vastness and emptiness of space. The music and sound effects create that sense of loneliness with a tinge of hope that you will inevitably find Earth and save society.
The graphics for the characters and the spacestation are very simple, yet when the characters emote, you can feel and understand the emotions which they are relaying. There were times when I was using the telescope and searching for Earth in the vast galaxy, that I felt like I was looking at the night sky somewhere in the mountains. SIGONO did a tremendous job in creating the sensation of being in space.
The game was originally on Steam and mobile devices and received many recognition including a Google Play Editors’ Choice, Best Mobile Game, Excellence in Audio, and Excellence in Storytelling. The story was mesmerizing and I have to give it a 10/10. The gamplay is so simple yet fits so perfectly with the story the developers are trying to tell, it drives the game forward and provides some challenging side discoveries that took me quite a while to find. I have to give the game play a 9/10. Overall, the game gets a 9.5/10 and at $5.00 on the Nintendo Switch this is a no brainer of an investment.