The Plane Effect is an upcoming adventure puzzle game, chronicling the daily life of Solo, his family, and his last day at work. Before clocking out and returning to his family, things seem to take a disturbing turn; strange people watching him from a distance, workers and pedestrians have vanished, and even the world itself seems to break down through strange cosmic anomalies!
Developer: Studio Kiku
What’s going on exactly?
Right after turning off his work computer, Solo lowers to the ground to pick up a photo of his family, a loving wife and daughter. But the photo fades out of existence right in his hand. Not a single soul is around either. As an adventure game, The Plane Effect has you solving puzzles to hurry up and reunite Solo with the family before the world completely breaks down.
The main gameplay consists of walking or running around and interacting with objects, such as electric boards, keycards, metro tickets, etc. As the world itself ceases to make sense, everyday sequences like leaving work become slightly more complicated. For example, in order to leave the office, you must approach the door and try to exit, and then a keycard will literally drop from above to somewhere high up. You then use a paper plane to push the keycard onto the ground.
The demo consists of four sequences with their own sets of challenges. For example, the third sequence “City Lights” has Solo crossing the street several times and attempting to agitate a police drone that’s blocking a door he needs to access!
What is this world even about?
The Plane Effect has you continually doubt the very nature of Solo’s surroundings, right from the very beginning. You are shown driving his daughter to school in the morning, yet Solo resorts to public transport to get to work. When he leaves work, he doesn’t find his keycard in his coat, but needs to search the office for it. The city he works in is a dystopic hellscape, equipped drones that shock you for mild transgressions like jaywalking! Due to the nature of this world, you can’t help but wonder if this really is how things were all along.
The game uses low-poly models and environments combined with a mostly gray color scheme and visual effects such as blur and lighting, giving The Plane Effect an eerie and dark feeling befitting of Solo’s lone quest. The intro music sets an upbeat tone which it quickly contrasts with the simpler, calmer, and slower background music in the levels. Aside from a few grunts, laughing and vocalized greetings, there are no dialogue in this game, spoken or written.
While the game veers slightly to moon logic territory with its puzzles, it was easy to deduce how to advance as essential items are emphasized through lighting and generally not being where you’d expect them to be (such as the gloves on the metro tracks). Even then, the game includes two modes in addition to the normal one: Narrative-Assist and Guided, both of which give you clues on what to do next, making the game accessible and easy to pick even if you’re not a puzzle aficionado!
The Plane Effect’s prologue demo gives us a glimpse of what the final game will be like, with its intrigue, mystery, and generally unsettling environment. The game is simple and easy to pick up, with mild to no difficulty at all, making it a recommended pick for if you’re a fan of surreal narratives!