Gameplay-wise, 1971 Project Helios consists of turn-based tactical battles interspersed with dialogue scenes. While you start the game with only two characters in your party, you meet more people along the way, some of whom are added to your entourage. Each story chapter comes with several levels to complete. After completing a few chapters in the game however, I noticed that the dialogue could have benefited from some more polish before release. Dialogue scenes are often stilted and cheesy, and characters are dropped into the mix so quickly that it’s hard to figure out who they are and what they’re there for. A few hours in, I still had no clue whether Émile and Hanna were soldiers, assassins, or something else, and didn’t understand Butch’s role either. As a player, you’re given little to no insight into the game’s setting, and the lore of the game’s world isn’t really explained clearly. As a result, the world felt hollow to me, and I cared little for the characters in my party.
Undoubtedly in an attempt to create tension and engaging cliff hangers in the story, the game’s dialogue is often wordy and written in a cryptic tone. This could have worked well if I had had a thorough understanding of 1971 Project Helios’s world and the stakes characters like Émile and Hanna are facing. Unfortunately, I was often left scratching my head trying to make sense of what I was reading, and as a result I often felt like skipping the dialogue altogether. As I progressed through the first few chapters of the game, I also noticed a few awkward sentence constructions in the dialogue here and there. Not being a native English speaker myself, I can understand the challenges and difficulties creatives face when making content, especially in their non-native language. However, in my opinion the writing would have benefited from some edits. The fact that the game was released without this final polish seems unfortunate. The clunky writing only added to my confusion about the story and alienated me as a player.