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In Space No One Can Hear You Scream

What is the Panspermia?
It's simple:
Panspermia is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, and planetoids, as well as by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms.

Oh, wait are you asking about the game called The Panspermia? Ok This is a 2013 RPG Maker 2000 sci fi survival horror game developed by the indie circle TWM STUDIO originally in japanese, amd translated into English by Memories of Fear (that also translated other cool japanese games I loved such as Purgatory 1 and 2) in 2016 (and I played it fully in 2018, even if I'm reviewing it today).
This game can be defined as a sort of "Survival horrorin space" (or Sci-fi Resident Evil if you prefer) with clear inspiration from the Alien series, the Lovecraft Mythos and the videogame Dead Space (released in 2008). This game is pretty much linear (well what do you expect from a game set in a claustrophobic setting like the movies of the Alien series?) and with a single ending, it's also violent and pretty dark, not suitable for children for sure (includes violence and gore, partial nudity, cannibalism, sexual violence, and strong language)!

Something tells me that... it won't be that easy!

The plot clearly explains the title of this game: in 2132, a meteorite containing unicellular organisms with DNA that resembles life on Earth is discovered, suggesting proof of the Panspermia theory on the origin of life on our planet. This leads to the discovery of a new planet in our solar system, given the name Harmonia. With Earth's resources stretched thin, a survey team is sent to Harmonia to determine if it has the resources to support human life, as well as confirm or deny the truth of the Panspermia theory.

After a brief introductory tutorial that will explain the basics of the game, the first chapter will begin presenting the crew including our protagonist, Naomi Rouse (that can also be renamed, but this will make the difference only onsave files and some NPC dialogues since most of the time the characters are called using the surname, Rouse in the protagonist's case). Naomi is a corporate employee with no combat experience or training at all, but in the course of the adventure she'll be forced to become an action survivor able to fight and hide from the alien monsters.
And I say "action" survivor for a reason, because this game is not an rpg with turn based combat, but a real survival game with no levels or party but a real time combat system.

Things aren't going too well here!!!

But yes, this is a survival horror, so even if Naomi will be armed for most of the game, the enemies are so powerful that sometimes running and hiding will be a better choice than direct confrontation. For the rest the game is about exploring several locations on the surface of Harmonia, collecting items, documents and clues to uncover the mysteries of the planet. But this is not everything: there is a lot of focus on the characters and their relationships, since some answers choosen by the players may change the relations with the protagonist and the cutscenes may play differently.

Graphically the game uses the classical Rpgmaker 2000 visuals, but with a lot of custom resources that make the game immediately recognizable despite using a classic rpgmaker visual style for charsets and chipsets. Mapping is good, it's all about corridoors and sci-fi locations, but these are well made and rich of details... including gory details of course! After all this is a horror game, so expect monsters, blood and dead bodies, all in colorful pixels and nothing else, by the way!
An addition is that there are some custom made and rather expressive portraits (meaning that there are various version for different facial expressions, like normal/sad/angry/impatient etc)... yes, portraits and NOT simply facesets, that are a bit transparent since they take a lot of space.

Music is also very appropriate since I found the background music to be perfect for a space opera adventure (I cannot recognize if the music is original or the source, in any case it's pretty perfect), and this attention to the details is evident from the beginning of the first chapter. Nothing else to say, I guess.

Are you sure? This review is ending, then face the...

Final Verdict
Ok, so far you know everything about the game, more or less. And I can tell you that it's pretty good, apparently I found it to be traslated perfectly (Memories of Fear always did a good job), but there is a little thing that may be a problem: the difficulty! Ok, clearly a survival horror cannot be too easy or it won't be scary but there is a rather impressive difficulty spike in Chapters 3 and 4, and the strange thing is that the bosses aren't the reason of this sudden difficulty, but the normal enemies are! It's a good thing that the english version also modified the original version for example adding a stun gun battery in a key location, because without it there could be an unwinnable battle, anyway the game isn't really easier than the original version. Unfortunately the weak point of this game is the gameplay, but it was something I took in account, because Rm2k isn't exactly the best engine for this kind of game, anyway it was a laudable attempt!

Luckily for players, Memories of Fear also provided a handy spoiler free walkthrough if you need it!

So, a Sci-fi survival horror in real time made with an engine designed for making fantasy jrpgs? Yes, and the result is pretty good in my opinion. A bit difficult and with a gameplay that coul hav been better, but with a good story, music and graphics that contributes successfully to create a dark, creepy atmosphere. 4/5 is my rating.