Solstice Chronicles: MIA is a three-dimensional twin-stick shooter developed by Ironward. Set on a Martian wasteland evocative of Doom, the player is given control of an unnamed corporate marine and his drone ally, Saffron, an arsenal of weapons, and told to survive.
The player is given the option of using a gamepad or mouse and keyboard, and both options are streamlined and efficient, though the nature of the genre means that the gamepad controls are slightly more intuitive. Of particular note is the use of the D-pad to command the player’s drone, allowing on-the-fly commands to be issued such as “Drop ammo for me” or “Protect me from the enemies on screen.”
During the course of the game, the player is armed with weapons which provide a variety of tactical options, such as a shotgun for dealing with hordes of weak enemies and automatic weapons for overcoming fast-moving ones. Each weapon has an ammo pool, though some, like the pistol and submachine gun, utilise the same pool.
Beyond these standard mechanics, Solstice Chronicles: MIA offers the player an unprecedented level of choice in the difficulty of their levels. Rather than a simple difficulty slider set before the game begins, players can dynamically alter the number of enemies which they must confront. This is done via a bar at the top of the player’s screen which indicates the number of enemies on screen, their difficulty, and how much more severe the situation can become. The bar has a soft-cap at the start of the level, but using the drone’s special abilities can increase or decrease the maximum length of the bar, allowing more enemies to occupy the play-space at once. The player must constantly weigh the benefits of using their drone’s powerful effects against the increased number of enemies.
Solstice Chronicles is set to a heavy beat, the genre of music expected from the likes of Doom. This choice creates an atmosphere resonant with the theme and tone of the game. The sound-effects are of acceptable quality, offering booming, resonant shotguns and machine guns with a satisfying chatter.
Solstice Chronicles: MIA is currently scheduled for release before 2018, but is not available for purchase.