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Michael Sawh



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E3 2015 preview

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Oculus Rift (Played on PC with Oculus Rift)

Adr1ft release date: September 2015

I feel a little sick. I've just taken off the DK2 development version of the Oculus Rift having played just 15 minutes on Adr1ft. Despite the slight queasiness, I came away thinking that it was one of the best examples of virtual reality gaming I've experienced so far.

Created by game studio Three Zero One, Adr1ft is set in the year 2037 and tells the story of a female astronaut who is the sole survivor of a destroyed space station where all of her colleagues have died and she has no idea why. To make things even worse, her spacesuit is leaking oxygen. The goal is to to stay alive and get back home. As you repair items around the ship and your suit, you'll also begin to piece together exactly what happened to other crew members and why you've been left on your own by discovering audio logs.

SEE ALSO: Project Morpheus hands-on at E3 2015

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Three Zero One has been working on the game it calls a First Person Experience (FPX) for 13 months. A member of the team told me they wanted to go for the scope and scale of Gravity and the emotional connection in Journey and it's pretty much on the money. I'd say there's strong influences from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as well here.

Putting on the Oculus headset, a pair of headphones and grabbing a controller, the first person view and heavy breathing means it doesn't take long to feel that sense of claustrophobia and what it would feel like to be stuck in space. Looking around you can see your space suit and all manner of floating debris and are introduced to the zero gravity environment, which adds to the disorinetation.

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You're running low on oxygen thanks to a cracked helmet and you need to locate an oxygen tank quickly. I perform a somersault while getting to grips with the controls. Floating through a doorway, I enter a room where a computer terminal lies at the centre. Reaching out my hand using the controler to activate the terminal, I'm told I need to make repairs to the outside of the ship.

Struggling my way through large debris, I finally make it out of a broken window and out into space. It's a pretty special experience seeing Earth as your backdrop. Look down and you can see your feet. Look around and you can stare into the darkness. What makes this different from other VR experiences in space is that the gorgeous visuals really play a part in creating the illusion of being in space.

After getting accustomed to my surroundings, I get to work on making the repairs. Not long after that, my time with Adr1ft is cut short and I'm both thankful and disappointed that's the case.

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First impressions

Adr1ft is a reminder of how virtual reality is going to take gaming to a really special place. This wasn't even the latest Oculus headset, yet I still felt fully immersed in the action. Add in the sense of isolation and disorientation that an environment like space creates, and it's a pretty special experience.

If you added support for the new Oculus Touch controllers letting you actually reach out for objects, it would certainly add another dimension to the gameplay. While the use of virtual reality certainly shines through in just fifteen minutes, I didn't feel all that great afterwards. It'll be interesting to see how comfortable it is to play for longer periods. I do know that I want to step into the Adr1ft world again with or without the VR headset.


June 23, 2015, 8:58 am

Thanks for the reply and interesting too. I am considering purchasing the new Oculus and I am also interested in MSFT Hololense when it is ready. I wonder of the issue with women is to do with visual depth perception?

Jon Souter

June 23, 2015, 2:03 pm

Deffo hold off until the retail kits are ready, there's been lots of research being quietly carried out throughout the Rift's development and many kinks around field of view, motion blur, persistence of vision, latency, etc should be significantly better for most people by time of release.

Even then I suspect there will remain a sizeable group of people who will fail to get on with VR - as the mismatch between perceived motion vs actual sensation of motion is still likely to outweigh the other corrective techniques (e.g. for those most prone to travel sickness).


June 24, 2015, 8:54 am

Yeah thanks for the advice I will hold off until it is more refined your spot on.

Jon Souter

June 24, 2015, 9:47 am

Early adopters often get stung - I tend to wait a month or two after release to read real world reviews from paying customers as well as sites like TR.

But I have to say that the Rift does look to be the next big thing for PC and possibly Xbox One experience junkies ;-)


June 24, 2015, 9:58 am

Good idea I have been caught out doing that before and its not pleasant. I think too that the RIft will do well and as will all companies that are specific in a certain area with their RnD they do have that better insight and knowledge of the hardware.

Jon Souter

June 24, 2015, 10:10 am

With any luck, major retailers will spot the opportunity and give punters the chance to try this game-changing tech out in store.

John Lewis in particular would seem like a good fit if they were to jump on this early in their spacious shops.


June 25, 2015, 1:46 pm

It does indeed have to do with depth perception. Here's the article (ignore the baity headline, it's pretty interesting) http://qz.com/192874/is-the-oc...


June 25, 2015, 8:12 pm

Very interesting read about Motion Parrallax and Shape-from-shading it really highlights the depth of vision and how our brains translate the 3D surround. Thanks for that article :)

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