J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars

The first game I’ve played start-to-finish in a while, J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars is a fantastic story and puzzle game. You take on the role of Rachel Manners, an astrobiologist who left Earth to explore a nearby star system that was emitting an artificial signal. You awake to alarms and your ship’s computer, JULIA, informing you that a meteor storm has cause significant damage to the ship.

This opening sequence introduces you to two of the three primary characters and the interfaces and puzzles you’ll encounter. JULIA is the exploration ship’s artificial intelligence. She wakes you from your cryoslumber to inform you of an on-board emergency. The ship has encountered a meteor storm and there are fires, gases and electrical issues that need to be addressed.

After the initial danger has passed, JULIA informs you that you are the only surviving member of the expedition. Additionally, some of her memory has been corrupted and she is unable to access or reconstruct the events preceding your awakening. JULIA identifies your position and identifies a mobile laboratory on the nearby planet. She introduces MOBOT, a reconnaissance robot, that you can use to explore the planet and the lab.

You continue to explore the star system, create upgrades for MOBOT, discover the fate of your expedition members and solve many puzzles. All of these add up to an enjoyable experience that I finished in about eight hours. While some of the story is telegraphed and on trope, the characters, pacing, environments and music are fantastic.

J.U.L.I.A.: Among the Stars isn’t the best game out there, but it is a terrific experience. I picked it up on a Steam sale and would recommend you do the same. A capable protagonist, balanced supporting cast, compelling mystery, and interesting gameplay makes this a highly recommended game.

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