Notrium is a really neat game in that it takes the essence of being trapped on a desert island and transforms the concept for space. As the pilot of a ship, you’re marooned on an alien planet with nothing but the broken remains of your escape pod. You’ve got to find parts to build a radio to initiate your rescue, but along the way you’ll run into some pretty unique challenges.
One of the interesting things about the game is the temperature gauge, which means you must constantly be aware of the day night cycle. The days on the planet are extremely hot, so resting under shade is necessary, whereas cold rains and night can leave you hypothermic and dead, if you’re not careful.
The UI is pretty easy to understand, but the controls are sort of hard to get used to, since you control the movement of your guy with the keyboard and the direction you’re firing with the mouse. Aside from a few control issues, the variety of things you can pick up around the planet are simply amazing, and the story is told through these pickups.
Finding transmitters, power sources, aliens for food, it’s all part of your survival, and since each time the game is loaded it’s randomly generated, you can be sure no two survival attempts are the same. Once you get the hang of gameplay you’ll find yourself hooked and wanting to play more, thinking strategically as to when you can best raid the planet during the day.
Notrium was originally released in 2003 by Monkkonen, a company currently working on a new game in a similar vein called Driftmoon. Aside from the main story, there are several playable mods for Notrium, so if you find yourself growing tired of what’s available, don’t hesitate to download a few of the player created mods to have some fun.