Everyone, let me ask you a question: Have you ever wanted the power to control time? What if I told you that you could have the power to manipulate time right in your hands? Would you be able to use it for the good of all? Or will you fall victim to your darker impulses and bend time to make you the ruler of all you survey? If you have the stomach for it, join me on a trip to the desolate island of Katorga-12.
Singularity is a first-person shooter game released near the end of June in 2010. Players take on the role of US Marine Nathaniel Renko, whose recon patrol is tasked with investigating unusual activity from an abandoned Soviet research facility on the island of Katorga-12. Upon landing on the island, Renko and his team are immediately separated and attacked by the island’s mutated inhabitants. Escaping, for the time being, Renko is somehow warped fifty years back in time to when the island was in operation during the Cold War. Before returning to his time, Renko manages to save a scientist by the name of Dr. Nikolai Demichev from dying as the facility catches on fire. Upon Renko’s return, however, he finds out that Demichev went on to use the research obtained from Katorga-12 to mount a coup on the Soviet Union, and used it as his seat of power from which he took control over the world. Demichev is now on Katorga-12 looking for Renko, who he believes to have the Time Manipulation Device (TMD), a device that can, as the name implies, allow the user to manipulate time to his advantage. It’s up to Renko to find the TMD, return to the past, and find a way to stop Demichev and repair the future.
I love the atmosphere the game puts you in. In the first half-hour, you are left isolated to explore an abandoned research facility and dilapidated school. It sets up the tone of the story quite effectively. It puts you as the outsider uncovering the terrifying secrets of the island. The game also contains worldbuilding in the form of recordings and files detailing the lives of the people of Katorga-12. You’ll find the last notes of the research team as they made breakthrough after breakthrough using a substance known as E99, until the main reactor exploded, destroying the facility and nearly killing everyone there. The audio recordings showcase the reactions of the people as they deal with the destruction of the island and the residual radiation of the reactor meltdown and the mutants that result from it.
The gameplay is also very entertaining. The game is split between the dark, claustrophobic hallways of the island in the future and the frenetic shooting galleries in the past. From there, you will need to survive and make your way to the next area. It has your common first-person shooter traits: you have a pistol, machine gun, heavy weapons, etc. They all handle quite well, and you can find each one of them quickly enough, though you can only hold two weapons at a time. You will need to navigate the island, fighting off both the mutants and Demichev’s forces as you make your way to the ruins of the main reactor. But there is one essential part that sets this game from its peers: the TMD. Fairly early into the game, you receive the TMD to use. You find out soon that you have the ability to accelerate time both forward and backward in different parts of the environment as well as on your enemies. Often you will need to use the TMD to repair or rapidly age leftover equipment throughout the island. You are also able to bend time around your enemies, aging them into dust. As the game goes on, you will also gain the ability to stop time in specific areas, manipulate certain items using magnetism and pull enemies who can warp time around them into the present day. You are also able to upgrade both the TMD and your weapons using specific upgrade points throughout the game.
loved playing through this game. The idea of traveling through time and space to change the future is a great idea to base the game around. Though I believe the game could go a bit further in exploring the time travel idea, I still feel that it does well with the time it has. It has a runtime of eight hours, which I think is a good amount for a game in this genre. I greatly recommend this game for the ideas it puts forth and the atmosphere of a decaying island juxtaposed with the high-energy shootouts mixed with sci-fi. The game is available on Steam and GOG.com for PC users, and if you can find a used copy, it is available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.