Explore Colorful Realities in ‘Catacombs of Solaris’

​‘Catacombs of Solaris’ is a first-person trip to a dimension of color, space, and impossible corridors.
December 12, 2016, 9:00pm

Exploration is possibly my favorite activity in games. While I love good, satisfying traversal mechanics, they need to be set in a space that I want to look at, listen to, and poke around in. Catacombs of Solaris is an exploration game, set in a series of complex, colorful, psychedelic-looking corridors.  Your goal is simply this: explore until you find your "favorite room in the catacombs."

Above: the game in action.

Creator Ian McLarty has made a series of seemingly impossible spaces here: kaleidoscopic rooms that undulate as you walk through them. It's dizzying at times, forever disorienting, and always intriguing. There's a logic to this space, to the language of its patterns, and it teases that logic out to you, bit by bit. But you need to be curious.

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See these, er, squares?

Header and all Catacombs of Solaris screens courtesy of Ian McLarty

They might be patterns on the wall, or they might be entire corridors to search. The only way to find out is to walk right up to it, and see if the space opens up to you.

The game is evocative in the best way: it feels like some kind of bizarro alien artifact, designed with a purpose in mind that we can't quite fathom. It seems human-adjacent, something that a bunch of psychedelic vulcans might use to relax after a hard day of mind-melds and meditation.

Catacombs of Solaris is free (or pay-what-you-want) on Itch.io.