CONSORTIUM is a first-person game, with shooting in it, but it's not a first-person shooter. Despite the sci-fi setting, and the constant narrative potential for violence, and the moments of actual violence, this is an adventure game. And an RPG. And a pretty good one at that.
You play a crew member on a giant weaponised jumbo jet (above), whose first day on the job coincides with a lot of heavy shit going down, from murders in the crew quarters to enemy attacks on the ship.
Most of the game is spent walking around the ship, the only location of the game, getting to know every room and every person working inside it. Think of it as the Normandy sections of Mass Effect, only instead of being a break from the main game, they are the main game.
Every person onboard can be spoken with, and how you relate with them affects your relationship, and thus future interactions with them. Couple this with the fact you manually manage your equipment and inventory, and there's a strong RPG element to proceedings.
There's a cozy sense of completeness to the world of Consortium. Because you're only ever on the one ship, you start to get an appreciation for its design that you would otherwise ignore in a game where the location is just set temporary dressing. Air ducts and shortcuts aren't simply avenues of attack that you only use once; since you can explore the whole ship, and move around it all the time, they just become part of the illusion that, hey, this is a real ship. Maybe they'll be useful down the line, maybe they're just there because ships need air ducts so people can breathe.
This carries through to the surprisingly large crew you share the ship with, who each have their own jobs to do and will mill about doing them. Most of the time you'll see them at their station, but when they move, they move in real-time. Having to wait in line for the elevator while an AI character uses it doesn't sound fun, but it does play to this game's real strength, in that you feel like you're on an actual ship with a real crew, not a box full of clockwork holograms.
The voice actors also do a fantastic job considering this was a Kickstarter project, a wide variety of accents giving the international crew a real sense of, well, character.
Consortium isn't the prettiest game, but given the resources of the team, they've made the smart move to mask some limited visuals with a strong dose of flair, the game coated in a cartoon style that makes it seem part-Thunderbirds, part early 2000s FPS, part-Xtacles.
I've mentioned Mass Effect before, but you'll also find shades of System Shock and even old-fashioned adventure games here as well. The developers say it's "a first person science-fiction role-playing experience unlike any other", and really, they've kinda delivered on that (relative to their experience and budget, anyways).
It does some... interesting things with its story and the way your actions influence it, which I won't spoil here, but if you check it out - and at $US20 I'd say it's worth it - you'll find a game that's punching well above its weight (it's even planned to be part of a trilogy).
Just be aware that some people are running into some fairly catastrophic bugs and glitches. I haven't, thankfully, but hey, there are enough that the developer is aware of it and apologising profusely.
UPDATE - OK, seems that the developers are planning a fairly major update on January 31. The good news is that it should hopefully fix a lot of the bugs. The bad news is that it'll wipe old save games. So you might want to hold off a couple of weeks (you can always wishlist it on Steam).