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Think John Carpenter's "The THING" and you are halfway to understanding some of the situation your characters find themselves in when their helicopter crashes in the ice-cold, snowy antarctic wastes. As luck would have it (never before has the word "luck" been more inappropriate) the pair of characters who survive the crash land next to a complex of buildings surrounded by fencing, so perhaps it's a Military base and help is on hand (yeah, fat chance). More likely it is a deserted (or almost deserted) run down wreck of a compound with several buildings featuring locked doors, broken furniture, open windows (why would anyone open a window in the Arctic?) and various crates, boxes and cupboards bearing not very much of anything, but possibly just enough of the right equipment to keep your heroes alive.


Starting off with the Tutorial for any new game is usually a good idea and so at the Start Screen I clicked on Tutorial. To be honest DISTRUST has one of the most unnecessary tutorials I have ever come across. If anyone is buying a game of this genre and knows not to use WASD and/or M ouse click for movement, or to LMB click on objects and items that highlight when passed over, then they shouldn't be attempting to play it. I am not saying you have to be a hard core experienced gamer, but just about everything you do in DISTRUST is intuitive to computer and console players of all ages.

Thankfully the walkthrough/tutorial is pretty short and it isn't long before you are back at the Start screen to begin play. You are given two options to choose from - play a campaign style game where you can only ever control two characters, some of the achievements aren't achievable, and the game is a little more forgiving, or you can go for the main game where a third character can be unlocked, as can many different achievements, but at the cost of more danger, more excitement (edge of seat stuff) and no give; make a mistake and it will almost certainly be your last.


Unlike my usual casual approach for my first game I went for the excitement and complete immersion; several deaths later I realised I should have gone for option B (well option A actually). I chose two heroes/adventurers/scientist-types from the three on offer and the game began with them scurrying away in the snow from their crashed and burning chopper - nothing showed up as being salvageable and knowing that the cold weather would kill them almost as quickly as any copter crash or wild animal could. Using the Q W A S and D buttons to move and rotate the screen I quickly located the shape of a building. Clicking on each character's portrait and then the building, in turn, my heroes ran to the first door, opened it and entered. The place was a mess and had obviously been evacuated in a hurry. 

Searching the building to find anything of use I managed to cut the arm of one of the characters on something hidden in the cold dust/ash of the heating stove. Once a character starts bleeding they needs bandaging as quickly as possible and obviously you don't carry any in your inventory unless you have already found some (usually 1, sometimes 2) in another building prior to the accidental cut. Cupboards, First Aid Stations, Bedside Tables, Crates all need to be searched in every building. Failure to find the bandage in time puts the injured character into a coma (i.e. out of the game). You can try to give respiration, you can pick their fallen body up and carry it, though weirdly you cannot lay them on a bed - I tried and they were unceremoniously dumped on the deck while the carrier character laid down to sleep, again not a good idea most of the time.


Time is of the essence throughout DISTRUST and you are always running from room to room, building to building, hunting and searching. Always needing to find coal or wood for the fire/stove, gas for the generator, tools or keys to open doors etc and always trying to locate the exit to safety and survival.

Hands down this is a really challenging adventure, point, click, explore (and die) game with a realistic look and feel of the Antarctic; I swear my room goes 10 degrees cooler when this game is onscreen. If you are looking for a game to depict desolation, eery creepiness, this should be called DESPAIR instead of DISTRUST although both are apt.

You are slowly tortured as you watch the Bars of your character's statistics, Warmth, Stamina and Safety, slowly disappear with you unable to prevent the decresing loss. Here's a tip: If you click on something to eat or drink, or something that looks a bit dodgy and you get a question up on screen asking if you really want to do this, then say NO! I have fallen for this more than once, thinking that after the first mistake the second time (different situation) would be good, as if the Artificial Intelligence was temptingly bluffing - Note to self: A.I. does NOT bluff!


"I" brings up your Inventory and in it you can assign weapons and equipment etc. to your characters by dragging it from the grid onto the circle of acceptance which appears on the chosen character. Note that if you give a character food they will eat it, and take their time doing it, so if, for instance, the character is running and you think to give him a snack bar, he will stop running and stand still and eat, so make sure your heroes are in a safe place before doing anything like healing (bandaging), feeding etc.

Life in the Antarctic is hard. Surviving in the Antarctic in DISTRUST is nigh-on impossible, but it's time well spent trying.






© Chris Baylis 2011-2015