Between Horizons Review – Shooting for the Star

We’re 33 years into the Zephyr’s 130-year mission to take humanity to another star. We play as Stella, 24-years-old, we were born on the Zephyr and we will never step foot on a planet. Like all on the Zephyr, we are due to inherit our father’s position on the ship and become its Chief of Security. After our first case goes horribly wrong, our father is killed pursuing an assailant and we uncover a potential plot to uproot the Zephyr’s current social order. We must now investigate this conspiracy and our father’s death to protect the mission.

Digitales Interactive’s detective point-and-click adventure Between Horizons consists of exploring the branching cases associated with our father’s death and our investigation into a plot to overthrow the Zephyr’s social order. After an in-depth tutorial into the game’s investigation mechanics, we are left to our own devices with little to no hand holding – which is just how I like my detective games.

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We play as Stella, the Zephyr‘s new Chief of Security.

Each investigation poses a question that must be answered. Our decision will affect the outcome of the game and its side plots depending on whether it was the correct choice or not – so exploring all evidence and asking the right questions is essential. Or so it’s claimed to be, however I found that, aside from the outcome of the subplots, whether or not you successfully solve a case mattered little to the final ending of the game – of which there are two possible outcomes with some minor variations. I also often found it unclear whether certain events were a result of my own actions or not, or a reflection of my decision on a previous case.

That being said, I still found Between Horizons to be tremendously fun to play. To investigate a case, we use our suit’s scanner to pick up evidence in a scene. We can then discuss certain pieces of evidence with characters relevant to the case to gather further information. Thoroughness is essential in solving cases in Between Horizons; you must ensure that you have spoken to every potentially relevant person and flagged every piece of relevant evidence with them to make sure you have everything you need. There are also several puzzles to solve throughout the game, all of which felt original and challenging. 

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Arrival Day celebrates the Zephyr‘s in pending arrival date at its new star. 

On top of this, I found each case to be interesting and I was fully engaged with not only the overall plot of Between Horizons, but also its subplots around the side characters. I enjoyed how each case felt unique while also tying in with the overall conspiracy being unearthed on the Zephyr. I also liked how there is no negative ending; Between Horizons proposes two outcomes to the Zephyr’s mission, each has their negative and positive points and neither is entirely wrong. Even the characters you encounter who are working against Stella have a perfectly reasonable reason for doing so, everything feels natural and realistic. 

Between Horizons looks great too. Its 2.5D pixel art is colorful and there are plenty of moments where you enter a certain room and the camera draws out to give you a full perspective on the room’s design. On top of this, the ship looks like a genuinely nice place to live, with bars and cafes, which makes it a realistic possibility that people would volunteer themselves to live here to make humanity’s mission to spread across the universe possible.

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The Zephyr feels lived in thanks to the great set designs.

That being said, Between Horizons is in need of some quality-of-life improvements. For one, I found that my biggest obstacle when solving cases was finding the people associated with them. If someone is mentioned or referenced in a case, you’re not usually told where they are, so I would have to search high and low on the ship to find this person. In fact, in one case I could not find who I was looking for, so presumed they weren’t available for questioning, they in fact were and I had just missed them – so I failed the case as the information he had was vital to the case’s solution. I also wish there was some way to sort the collected evidence menu, either by being able to sort it into evidence type or archive evidence into previous cases as by the end of the game, there was a long list of collected evidence to scan through when starting conversations.

Despite this, Between Horizons is a very fun point-and-click adventure game which can be completed in one sitting, which I did in just over six hours. It has an interesting plot, compelling quests and investigation gameplay with little to no hand holding that makes you feel like a true detective.

Jess played Between Horizons on PC with a review code.

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