The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited

“The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited” by Ian MacLarty.

“The goal of this game is to find your [favorite] room in the catacombs. [It is] a perspective maze that plays with your perception of [three-dimensional] space on a [two-dimensional] screen.”

Full disclosure right ahead:
Naomi “Bez” Norbez used a free key of “The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited”, provided by Ian MacLarty, to play the game and write an article about it.

I have always been a big fan of ‘art games’. From playing all the games in that category on Newgrounds when I was a teenager to browsing my feed for the latest Bitsy experiments – art games are something I am fond of. So when I saw “The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited”, I jumped at the chance to give it a go. One of the trippiest game experiences I have ever had was unlocked.

“The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited” is simply a maze. The stated goal is to “find your [favorite] room in the catacombs”, which is basically code for “wander around and have fun with it”. And I did have fun, but I also experienced terror beyond my wildest dreams. I would see what I thought was a hallway, only to bump into it headfirst – it was a wall – and look around, confused. I found myself running around, feeling scared and helpless as I ran from this terrifying, strange madness I had found myself in. And yet, there was also a sense of inner peace to it.

Perhaps the lack of music contributed to this. Without any ambient noise, I was forced to play “The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited” with just me and my own thoughts. Wandering the maze could be scary sometimes, but then again peaceful and relaxing. It does not have an exit. There is no prize. The only goal is to find an artistic experience, something that speaks to the player. And that I did find.

I also had a lot of fun with the custom image mode. You can import your own images into this game to create the labyrinth walls out of whatever you want. It turned my picture of otome boys into a nightmare hellscape, which was kind of terrifying, but also very amusing. All in all, I greatly enjoyed my time with “The Catacombs of Solaris Revisited”. For those of you who are unsure whether you want to buy this title yourself, you can try the old ‘original’ version “The Catacombs of Solaris”. Its visual effects are more limited and you cannot use your own images, but the principle is the same. Check it out, so that you can experience the catacombs for yourself. [PLAY]