I recently subscribed to the Humble Monthly Bundle, and this was the FIRST game I have tried out from all of the games offered to me. The name, an obvious reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey, caught my eye, as it was of my favorite movies. Seeing as it was both the first Humble Trove game and the first game in general I got to try out, Its quality has determined my first impression of the service. And all for the better.
The game is short - I finished it in about an hour - but magnificent. While not exactly the most challenging mind puzzle, it is definitely not an easy walkthrough, and combing for clues across the tiny but dense spaceship and figuring out what happened is very rewarding. The voice-acting varies on the positive side of the spectrum - MAL's voice acting is incredibly professional and convincing, especially during the end, while the Inspector's voice-acting is not on the same level but still very impressive for an indie game this small. The use of classical music works wonderfully inside the atmosphere of the game, and the references to 2001, some more obvious than the rest - were something I found amusing and I appreciated the homage.
However, the game is not perfect - especially on the technical side. My laptop is not exactly the most powerful piece of technology and it is indeed almost 5 years old - but it is still an i7 processor coupled with 6GB of RAM and a dedicated NVIDIA GPU, with an extra 2GB of RAM to it alone. it can run Bioshock Infinite - a slightly more complex game - at medium settings 1080p with a comfortable 30-40 fps. Here, while playing on the LOWEST possible graphical settings - I would vary between 30-40 fps while looking away from the main spaceship's body - while being inside MAL's control room for example, or floating outside the spaceship next to the communications unit - to an abysmal 15-20 fps whenever the ship's main body was in the camera's view. Although, in the scenes where the Inspector showed up and the gameplay was reduced to a screen behind him, the fps spiked back to 30-40 fps even inside the spaceship. In all honesty, if not for the amusing name and my general patient nature with indie games, I probably would have given up during the first few minutes because floating around a spaceship at 15 fps is quite a chore (although I am glad I didn't give up). I am not expecting a flawless, 1080p 60 fps experience - I understand my hardware has reasonable limitations due to aging - but I definitely feel that some further optimization is possible to make the game run more smoothly - perhaps selective asset presentation. Also an option to choose the game's resolution would have been welcome, as it is selected dynamically by the engine according to the screen and there is no in-game option to change it.
In conclusion, If there was an option to rate this game with 4.5 stars out of 5 - that would be my rating. The story is intriguing and rewarding, the voice acting in some parts (especially the end) is on the verge of superb, and the main gameplay mechanic of gathering evidence and the presenting it to MAL in the right order to force a confession out of him is skillfully executed and avoids becoming tedious. I could see this game getting an expanded release on Steam, with perhaps a bigger spaceship and extra plot points - akin to the release of The Stanley Parable on Steam a couple of years back which featured extra content. However, if you don't own a good gaming rig or your computer is getting a little old - expect some annoying technical issues, as this game is not nearly as optimized as one could hope and requires a lot more horsepower than expected. But because I found the premise of the game to overshadow the technical quirks - I give it 5 stars. excellent job, I hope you will continue to work on this game and I look forward to your future projects.