Here’s our review of South of the Circle, now available on PC and console, following the release of the Apple Arcade version.
It took about two years, but in the end we did it: here we go South of the Circle console and PC review, a small narrative adventure published in late 2020 on Apple Arcade. Let’s talk about his game Game state (not to be confused with the Sony PlayStation event), which takes us – as the title says – to Antarctica.
We already told you what we thought about the original version in our first review, but in this case we will tell you about the PC version, which we played through Steam and which will be available from August 3, 2022.
Between the present and the past
South of the Circle is a deeply grounded adventure storytellingwithin which we will move between past and present.
Today it is represented byAntarctic, from immediate danger and exploration. Our protagonist, Peter, has just survived a crash with a small plane while trying to reach an English base at the South Pole. The pilot is injured and Peter is the only one who can go to help.
On this lonely journey through the snow, however, I will go their way memories, which will take us back to the moment it all started: the meeting with Clara. The woman, like Peter, is a Cambridge scholar looking for a topic for her first publication, which serves to validate her transition to a permanent role at the university. Petros – a climatologist – has been working for years, but still cannot find a valid thesis. The turning point will be marked by the meeting with Clara. The woman is brilliant and the two become colleagues and lovers.
South of the Circle takes us on a journey of approx three hours, in which we will have to make a series of “dialogues” and plot choices. The first will be represented in the form of reactions: we will be able to express ourselves in certain verbal exchanges in a cheerful, calm or doubtful way, without however really affecting the development of the scenes. Then there will be a series of key plot moments, during which our choices will provide clear special icons captured by the game.
Without spoilers it is impossible to explain in detail the structure of the options, but we can say that they are completely irrelevant and fundamental At the same time. There are no right or wrong choices and the game will make us understand what the choice really means and the value of the memories.
This is an interesting way to suggest one plot, which will slowly unfold leading us to discover the truth behind our journey to Antarctica. The context is also very interesting: these are the years of the Cold War, with its difficulties and mistrust. South of the Circle is entirely based on its own plot, and we can definitely say that it is one of those projects that deserves attention, if you accept the large (and voluntary) gameplay limitations.
The game’s quality in narrative terms, however, has been well-or-badly known for some time, and now the question is whether it’s worth picking up. PC / console version or if you will stay in this Apple Arcade.
A first difference is the graphic presentation. Even if the style remained the same, i.e. minimal but pleasant, the superior power of the PC and consoles allowed State of Play to propose a work a little more defined, with some scenes a little denser with polygonal elements. Not a complete makeover, mind you, just a series of small tweaks that could also get away with it. There are very minor issues with some shadows and some animations, which are more noticeable on a large screen, but these are small things.
There is also a difference between the two versions input systembut considering South of the Circle’s low level of interactivity, it’s not particularly important to lose touch screen access.
More relevant is how you want to approach South of the Circle. State of Play the project is segmented into small sequences, between past and present, often lasting a few minutes. This is a great option for the mobile version, so the player can easily start the game, complete a section or two in a few minutes, then close the adventure and go back to the next break.
On PC and consolesOn average, the player tends to start the game with the idea of spending enough time on it. For this reason, the presence of some phases that are slightly slower than the rest of the game risks weighing a bit more, since in a long session one gets the impression that these sequences are much less useful than the rest. Obviously, there’s nothing stopping you from booting up the PC to play for even 10 minutes and taking in the experience in small bites, just as nothing in Apple Arcade stopped you from playing for three hours straight with your smartphone in hand.
Finally, we point out that the game is translated into Italian (interface and subtitles), with excellent English dubbing. The soundtrack is also enjoyable and delicately accompanies each section of the game.
- Great plot and choice management
- Sophisticated graphical presentation
- Gameplay is extremely limited, as expected
- Minimal technical flaws