Breathedge is…unique. It lets me live out my greatest fantasies such as urinating in space or caring for my deceased grandfather’s pet chicken. Yet, while Breathedge admittedly made me chuckle throughout my playthrough, its overall pacing, odd humor and subsequent lack of key accessibility features make this survival simulation not worth saving.
Developed and published by RedRuins Softworks, Breathedge follows the tale of the “Man,” a relatively nameless protagonist who must survive in the vast emptiness of space after his ship is destroyed during a mysterious circumstance. By gathering resources and constructing varying upgrades, players can ensure that the “Man” can overcome each ridiculous obstacle that gets thrown his way. Unfortunately, as space exploration is critical for survival, Breathedge’s physical accessibility mishaps are painfully obvious when perusing through the quiet void.
Like most modern games, Breathedge offers extensive key customization options. Unfortunately, disabled players are unable to change the menu key (Tab), or the keys to exit menus (Tab/Escape). While not necessarily an issue, extensive play sessions will become tiresome after needing to continuously utilize these two buttons.
Breathedge’s biggest accessibility blunder is an enigma, one where it’s difficult to necessarily criticize because it’s the entire theme of this specific title. Being stranded in space means needing to continuously leave the safety of your intact vessel to retrieve varying resources. With limited oxygen and limited time, your character must float through the destroyed remains of your ship, picking up debris along the way.
While certain upgrades make collecting infinitely easier, the movement aspect of space exploration is incredibly problematic. For example, certain collectibles are inherently small, requiring your character to make precise movements. Unfortunately, due to the ‘floatiness’ of space, it often took multiple trips just to acquire a single resource.
Combine that with needing multiple components, as well as having to hold the ‘Interact’ key for varying objectives, and disabled players are looking to spend approximately 30 minutes-one-hour just for a singular upgrade. I began to dread leaving the safety of my vessel, not for fear of dying, but rather for fear of exhausting myself trying to collect microscopic particles of ice and rock.
Breathedge does offer full gamepad support, which may make space traversal infinitely easier. However, due to my disability, I am unable to appropriately utilize a controller at my computer. Thus, the confusion regarding a proper accessibility review. It may be perfect for others, but for me, Breathedge is simply tiring.
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