South of the Circle is a narrative experience brought to us by the State of Play development team. It was released in October 2020 as an exclusive experience for the Apple Arcade service. The game recently received a version for home devices and a PC version. On this basis, we present you our test report today.
Artistic Approach and Photography
The game presents a simple artistic approach, far from affected, but it is mixed with excellent photography of the various scenes and their environments, with a care that we did not expect from the effects, especially the effects of the falling snow. The developer has also done a good job of selecting the appropriate soundtrack for the events.
The Story and Peter’s Struggle
The game’s story focuses on Peter waking up after the plane he traveled to the South Pole makes an emergency landing. Despite reaching his destination, his companion Floyd, the plane’s pilot, breaks his leg and their landing site is far from the base they were going to. This is where Peter’s struggle to find someone to help him and his companion begins. Surviving under these difficult climatic conditions.
Peter’s History and Academic Life
The game’s story begins with a journey between the past and present to learn about Peter’s history as a lecturer at the prestigious University of Cambridge and his work on his research that led to the journey to the South Pole. The events of the story take place during the period of the Cold War and tensions between the Soviet Union, Britain and America, and the story mixes these political tensions. Peter’s academic and emotional life shows some of the negative aspects of academia and his way of thinking. and the result is interesting and holds the attention throughout the entire experience.
Narrative Focus and Limited Gameplay
The game’s focus on the narrative aspect and its release first for smartphones explains the limited gameplay experience, except for some parts where you use the joystick to walk and inspect some elements of the environment. The experience focuses primarily on the dialogues between the characters and how Peter deals with these dialogues. There are 5 options, some of which are usually available. To interact with dialogues, there is the fearful, shy or serious reaction, and there is also the enthusiastic reaction and finally the compassionate reaction.
Decisions and Story Impact
The events of the story develop brilliantly, strengthening your attachment to the character of Peter and your sympathy for him and what happens to him. What’s ultimately frustrating, however, is that your decisions to interact with the dialogue have no bearing on the events of the story. and some of the details based on your decisions that you hope will have influence end up being thrown out the window. That’s a big question mark. In the end, the game gives you the illusion that you have determined Peter’s decisions and his own values, but it will force you into a specific scenario.
Replayability and Unsatisfying Ending
The lack of influence your decisions have on the events of the story compromises the replayability of the experience, which is a major downside. The other downside is the ending of the story, which we felt wasn’t as well thought out and detailed as the previous events. And it seems that it was written in a hurry. A lot of details were neglected and we got a confusing ending, which is very unfortunate. We beat the game in 4 hours, and as mentioned, there’s no real value in replaying the experience, and the ending to the story wasn’t satisfying. The experience was good overall, but the developer’s decisions highlighting the end of the experience deprived us of the ending we expected.
- Beautiful artistic approach with excellent photography
- Well-selected soundtrack that enhances the atmosphere
- Engaging narrative that mixes personal and political tensions
- Strong character development and emotional attachment to the protagonist
- Limited gameplay experience with minimal interaction
- Decisions in dialogue have no impact on the story
- Lack of replayability due to the lack of influence on the events
- Unsatisfying and rushed ending with neglected details
Q: When was South of the Circle released?
A: South of the Circle was released in October 2020 as an exclusive experience for the Apple Arcade service. It has since been made available for home devices and PC.
Q: What is the gameplay like in South of the Circle?
A: The gameplay in South of the Circle is primarily focused on the narrative aspect. Players will engage in dialogues with characters and make choices from a selection of options. There are also some parts where players can use a joystick to walk and inspect elements of the environment.
Q: How long does it take to complete South of the Circle?
A: On average, it takes about 4 hours to complete South of the Circle.
Q: Do the player’s choices in dialogues affect the story?
A: Unfortunately, the player’s choices in dialogues do not have a significant impact on the events of the story. While there are different dialogue options to choose from, the overall story remains largely unaffected by these choices.
Q: Is there replay value in South of the Circle?
A: The lack of influence that player choices have on the story and the relatively short length of the game limit the replay value of South of the Circle. Once the game is completed, there is little incentive to replay the experience.