Space. A place I’ve spent a whole lot of time in recently, especially after clocking up eighty-plus hours in Starfield. But the space theme seems to be in vogue lately and in the recent showcases of games those future adventures into the universe aren’t going away.
Tardy is a space adventure. But it has a very different type of feel to it. A mixture of old-school point-and-click adventure, with some older-school graphics and lots and lots of mini puzzles to solve. After the more open world games of space, is it a refreshing change to play something much more focused?
The story found in Tardy is good, reminding at times of teenage sci-fi novels I read back in the 1980s. You play the part of the wonderfully named Ramto; a space scoundrel who wouldn’t look out of place in a 1950’s road movie. At the start of the game, we hear a conversation between him and a mysterious character on a spaceship, all as our hero accidentally slips into a cryo chamber. Two years later he wakes up. The spaceship has been completely abandoned and Ramto has to solve the mystery of what has happened.
From there you read through journals and discover another person, albeit in a different location through a hologram called Anne. Both of you now play detective as the narrative unfolds in front of you.
It tells a tale very well and I found the narrative the most enjoyable part of Tardy. In fact, it’s like being whisked off on a good old-fashioned sci-fi adventure.
The gameplay has a very old feel to it in terms of how a point-and-click adventure would work. You are presented with a static location, unable to move around as such, but you are able to interact and move to areas and objects that are highlighted. Each area or location will have a series of things to do or unlock before you can move on to the next. Most of these involve solving puzzles and more involve playing some retro video games.
Those games come in the form of mini games that need to be played in order to progress – Pong, Space Invaders, a sort of Galatica and a version of Tetris. These are fun, whilst the puzzles come across as a mixture of old and new, taken from a whole spectrum of games. Tardy is however a tough game in terms of those puzzles and you have to really engage the brain cells to get through some of the trickier ones. But all the clues are there for you to find; it is just a case of thinking it through or, um, looking online for the answers.
That said, the gameplay mechanics themselves are quite simple and you’ll just need a lot of patience for some of the puzzles, mostly as the visual details are quite small. Using a controller is not as easy as using a mouse either and playing Tardy illustrates that a few times.
Tardy employs its retro visuals to very good effect with a look that reminds of Another World. I like the character’s design and the world itself. I’m also a big fan of the cutscenes, very much like something out of a graphic novel. The soundtrack has that future 80’s vibe about it, and that works perfectly with the game. But whilst the effects are fine, I would have loved Tardy to have some voice-over.
It’s good to be in space again and the story and narrative of Tardy will keep you going. It’s a pulpy thrill ride across a planet with AI at the forefront and themes of friendship and companionship mixed in. The gameplay can be a bit frustrating as it is quite slow and the puzzles feel a tad tricky. But I like the little old-school game elements found within.
A game that will take a couple of hours to play through, you should have a good time in space with Tardy.