Explore the strange world that you have been stranded on and embark on the great journey home – Phoning home.
Phoning home is the first title from Indie studio ION LANDS from Berlin, Germany, the studio was founded in 2015 by Marko Dieckmann. Phoning home tells the tale of Two robots named ION and ANI on their adventure to leave the planet they have crash landed on and return home to P1, on their perilous journey, the Two robots need to over come many obstacles and puzzles that stand in their way, such as resources gathering, survive against the harsh elements on the planet such as sandstorms and blizzards and also fight off different enemies that stand in their way of returning home.
The story of Phoning Home revolves around ION on journey to back home, however your ship crashes on an unknown planet. With the help of your AI partner TR2, you start to explore the alien world to find resources and a way back off the planet, after some exploring you find another crashed ship, within ION meet another AI named Sister, she then request that you to find her robot ANI that is missing. After you locate and rescue ANI, she joins ION in his journey as the two protect each other.
You control ION on your journey to gather enough resources to return home. Within the game there are multiple obstacles/environmental puzzles that you have to overcome, there is also resource gathering within the different environment to be able to craft different pieces of new equipment and depletable resources such as fuel, energy and health. During your journey you will traverse five different types of environments including a lush beautiful forest, a dry dead desert, a blizzard prone snowy land, a creepy ship graveyard and a desolate wasteland, in your quest to find enough Tetrerium to trick the planet to let you leave it bizarre gravitational field. You will also have to fight off different types of enemies such as snakes in the desert, a giant birds and swarms of tumblers, with the help of your trusty quirky companion ANI.
The overall graphical look of the game was very impressive implementation of the Unity engine, the game had some great looking environments from the beautiful looking forest to the snow environment really made the game feel like a real living planet. Phoning Home also made good use of the different particle effects, dynamic day and night cycles as well as weather effects such as the rain, sand storms and blizzards. I also really like the overall design of both ION and ANI, especially ANI she had a great personality and she conveyed so much attitude.
The sound design really made the world come alive and feel like you where on an alien planet. The voice over of both TR2 and Sister was also well done and really convey the personality of each of the AI’s.
My experience with Phoning Home was mostly positive, it had a good level of challenge such as gathering resources to be able to craft certain items to navigate to different parts of the planet to gather enough Tetrerium to return home. The only irritating parts of honing home was the Minor bugs and glitch’s such as ANI randomly Disappearing or losing the direction marker, but these issues can easily be fixed by a patch for the game, but overall for the first release of ION LANDS, Phoning home is an impressive first release for this new studio and I’m excited to see what will come next from the ION LANDS,