REVIEW : Residual (PC)
Residual is a PC and Nintendo Switch indie space survival game developed by Orangepixel and published by Apogee Entertainment. Residual, like Terraria and Minecraft, immerses players in a harsh, randomly created world where existence is dependent on their ability to collect necessary natural materials and sustenance. Residual also incorporates puzzle game principles, requiring players to complete certain terrain puzzles before progressing to new global regions. Unfortunately, while the game provides fast-paced exploration and tough survival components, the lack of variation in crafting and building restricts replayability and occasionally leads to tedious gameplay growth.
Residual begins with the player crash landing on the surface of a strange planet, where they must fix the ship’s computer and begin combing the planet’s surface for supplies with the help of their Disaster Bot. Because of the randomly created planets determined at the start of the game, each experience in Residual will be slightly different. However, each of these planets has a basic set of identical resources, similar to seeds in Minecraft. Still, the appearance of the world and the availability of the resources will vary based on the world’s nature and location in the solar system.
Players will explore a side-scrolling, pixelated map with a day and night cycle that changes according to how far the planet is from the sun, akin to Terraria. On hot, sunny worlds, players’ stamina will quickly deplete while exploration, forcing them to return to their ship and rest. Longer night cycles are less taxing on stamina, but they also produce less food and have fewer opportunities to collect solar energy. Players will scour the world’s surface for resources such as Metal, Deuterium, Coal, Water, Technology, and Graphite, which can be found distributed throughout the world’s map or mined utilising the ship’s computer’s mining gear. They can acquire access to a restricted resource vein by deploying the devices in the right places, speeding up repairs.
When starting Residual, players will not have access to the full globe, and tools like shovels, pickaxes, and hammers will not be available to dig beneath the surface. They must instead solve puzzles produced by old alien technology embedded in the planet’s surface. The sites must first be located while exploring, and then craftable objects such as batteries and levers must be used to make them work. While these puzzles provide a quick and challenging task while attempting to obtain the resources buried beneath the planet’s surface, they are less immersive than survival games like Terraria because players cannot interact with or affect the world’s physical makeup. The lowest stages of Residual feel more like an RPG dungeon than a survival game, although without the difficult opponents to fight.
The lack of base building and the limited crafting menu is Residual’s main flaws. While the game’s main objective is to repair the ship and flee the alien planet, players are only allowed to sleep in their small, broken-down spacecraft. There is also no opportunity to construct homes or other structures, which is a key feature of most survival games. In addition, a limited, basic crafting menu that can be accessed alongside the inventory adds to the difficulties. While ladders, batteries, campfires, and fishing rods can be constructed, the menu lacks the more intricate progression of tool improvements and object construction found in other survival games.
When exploring Residual’s underground maps, players may notice that visibility is limited. Terrain can be difficult to understand due to a mix of retro-style textures, gloomy lighting, and pixelated images. Important terrain like vines for climbing or spikes to avoid stepping on can mix in with grass and other blocks, and what could be an area of sticky tar could be completely missed. As a result, a patch to increase illumination and make obstacles and key terrain stand out against other things may benefit Residual.