I had not heard much of anything about the point-and-click adventure that is Stranded. Relatively low key, developed by an indie developer, and recently released via Steam for the PC, Stranded is like no other game out there. Thinking back, my first experience with the basic ‘adventure’ game would likely be Maniac Mansion, a lovable adventure classic for the Nintendo Entertainment System, though the first real introduction to the Point-and-Click adventure genre would be Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, followed shortly thereafter by Full Throttle.
Since then, though, there haven’t been many point-and-click adventure games that have really held my attention. When Stranded came across my desk I had to do a bit of poking around to learn a little about it and found that it may be right up my alley. After all, it is a game about being stranded on an alien planet; this could be fun, right?
When I started the game up I was a bit surprised given the fact that the logo flashes for a moment and then you are looking at the inside of a futuristic ship. I sat for a good two minutes or so, waiting for the ‘main menu’ to appear and when I got bored I simply clicked; low-and-behold my little astronaut comes meandering out of a cryostasis pod. With no introduction, no back story, no menu, and no options to speak of, you are just thrown into the game with no direction. You have no controls to speak of, simply point the mouse and click and your little avatar will walk to one side of the screen or the other. Stranded is the literal definition of “point and click;” you point, then click, and your character will move to one of three or four spots on the screen. It is to say the least, a bit confusing and with no direction you will be left scratching your head going “okay …” as you meander through the bleak yet beautiful alien landscape.
Outside of the artistic appeal to the sweeping vistas, your only companion will be some sort of alien golem that is more of an animated background fixture and some relatively soothing, if bleak at times, background music. Your astronaut’s footsteps are almost comically accompanied by a strange sound in addition to the crunch of the alien landscape. There is no story, no dialog, no action, simply wander the landscape and enjoy the views and music.
I played through Stranded a few times and each play through was slightly different, not that the slides changed, but the strange alien creatures would be there or they wouldn’t, so there was a little variety to each play through. However, if you are looking for any real interactivity I would recommend you look elsewhere. In reality if you are looking for much of a game at all and not a moving slideshow of well made pixel-art, I would recommend you look elsewhere. However, if you wish to just zone out for a bit and wander with no pressure, no zombies or bad guys of any kind, then Stranded is most definitely for you. A quiet, relaxing, and peaceful journey, Stranded is a perfect example of a game that is not a game. I just wish there would have been a little something … more.
Given the unique approach, attractive graphics, and simple, laid-back style of game I would give Stranded for PC a:
5.5 out of 10
Review by Robert