Today in games I've been eying for a while: a game with a plot that we are getting uncomfortably close to. Quarantine Circular is the spiritual successor to robot murder mystery Subsurface Circular. However, this time around it's a first contact story about an alien that claims it's attempting to save humanity from a virus that's killing millions of people. Is it really? Well, you're going to have to talk with it to find out.
Taking place in the distant future, a waterborne plague is currently waging war against humanity and winning. A hospital ship finds itself with a mystery visitor: an alien that fell from the sky named Gabriel. Gabriel makes it quite clear that this is an extinction-level event, and it's part of a group of aliens that believe that they should intervene and save Earth. However, with another group that believes the opposite on the way, everyone has to work fast, and work together, to solve the problem.
This basic story serves as a fantastic premise to get everyone all in each other's faces. You have some members of the crew willing to go all-in on working with Gabriel. Others are suspicious of the alien and feel like his whole presence may be a ruse. One person just straight up wants to kill and contain Gabriel. This isn't even getting into the feelings of Gabriel itself, who is trying to figure out if it's actually worth helping humanity as it believes, or if it should just let them deal with it themselves.
Much like the first game, Quarantine Circular is almost entirely based on conversation. However, this time around you'll constantly swap between the six main characters, letting you play out both sides of the conversation. Choices you make while playing as Marc, for example, may change how Marc responds to something when you're having a conversation with him later. You're going to want to pay attention to each choice, as you could set up some interesting arguments or agreements in doing so.
Sometimes, Quarantine Circular will give little conditions on the dialogue. One part, for example, sees you playing as Gabriel, who wants to get rid of the antagonistic security officer Teng. Your goal becomes to try and convince the other people present to send Teng away. Another part sees Gabriel giving some word challenges to Alla, a professor trying to pass the time with him. He asks Alla to find "kangaroo words," tasking the player with reading each of the provided options carefully to make sure there's indeed a word inside of another word.
Much like Subsurface Circular, there are a few puzzles to be had, though they're rather simple. Nearly every puzzle has you doing little more than going into the journal and trying to find a few codes. It's nothing that tough, and they didn't really serve as much other than a simple distraction and break from the conversations. However, it was nice to occasionally get to stop and figure something out.
It also gave me a chance to take in the world a little bit. There isn't too much to look at since the entire game takes place on the deck of a medical ship in the middle of the ocean. However, the nice character models and lovely "sunset in the distance on an ocean" look really does help a lot. A calming soundtrack also fits the situation well. I really want to give a special shout out to the TV show styled intro, which is full of close zooms on still figures with dramatic music playing. It works with the rest of the game super well.
I cam away from Quarantine Circular rather impressed. It's a sweet game that gives a nice chunk of hope in the current climate, even though I doubt an alien is going to fall from the stars and save us from our current situation. It does still show people working together, and what they can accomplish by doing so. Now hopefully we can manage to do the same here.
TechRaptor played Quarantine Circular on PC using a copy purcahsed by the player. The game is also available on Nintendo Switch.