I ended up picking J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars, a point-and-click adventure game following Rachel, the sole survivor of an expedition to a distant solar system, as she works with the ship’s AI Julia to piece together the mysteries of the solar system and what went wrong.
Adventure games can be hit or miss for me, but right away I liked the gameplay style of J.U.L.I.A. It has a button for you to see everything you can interact with, and the first part of the game focused on exploring to find clues about what happened and how to proceed, such as learning passwords that give you access to datapads used by members of the team.
The main character does not personally visit the planets, but instead sends down a recon robot. Upgrading the robot is another key part of progression, with some challenging (but satisfying) blueprint puzzles required to do so.
After you investigate the first area, it introduces another cool mechanic: an optional feature where you arrange events as they happened, to piece together the mysteries you uncovered. It was a nice way to lay everything out in a linear fashion when you initially learn about it through scattered clues.
Then the solar system opens up and you can visit other planets, so I was pretty excited to see how it would proceed.
Unfortunately, J.U.L.I.A. lost something in the later parts of the game for me. It became a bit less investigation-focused, involved more puzzles that sometimes weren’t explained well, and introduced elements that took away from its initial grounded feeling.
The game’s big twist also felt fairly obvious, although it made sense and was handled well enough. The ending, however, felt a little lacking to me too.
Nevertheless, there were parts of J.U.L.I.A. that I thoroughly enjoyed, especially in the beginning, and it was certainly a good pick for a space theme. Have you played J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars?---
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