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Video Game / The Panspermia

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A 2013 RPG Maker 2000 game developed by the indie circle TWM STUDIO, translated into English by Memories of Fear in 2016. In 2132, a meteorite containing unicellular organisms with DNA that resembles life on Earth is discovered, suggesting proof of the Panspermia theory on the origin of life on our planet. This leads to the discovery of a new planet in our solar system, given the name Harmonia. With Earth's resources stretched thin, a survey team is sent to Harmonia to determine if it has the resources to support human life, as well as confirm or deny the truth of the Panspermia theory.

The Panspermia is a survival horror game with heavy inspiration from Dead Space, Alien, and the Lovecraft Mythos. The player explores several locations on the surface of Harmonia to uncover the truth behind the many mysteries of the planet, collecting items and documents to further the investigation. The player is armed for much of the game, but enemies are powerful enough that running and hiding are far more effective than trying to fight past threats. A notable feature of the game is its focus on the characters, with certain scenes playing out differently depending on the player's relationship with the other crew members.


Link to English translation.

This game contains instances of:

  • Action Survivor: The protagonist becomes one of these over the course of the game, starting as a corporate employee with no combat training that becomes able to fight and hide from the alien monsters. There's also Lin, one of the crew from the CIA mission before the events of the game. Despite being forced to resort to cannibalism and hit-and-run attacks on her former allies, she survives on her own for over a year.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In the English version, to prevent the game from becoming Unintentionally Unwinnable, a stun gun battery will spawn in the area before the final boss if the player doesn't have one. Since the final boss is one of the most difficult parts of the game, this is immensely useful.
  • Apocalypse Cult: Hinted at early on with documents that suggest that the truth behind human life is "too terrifying" to know without going mad and wishing doom upon humanity. It turns out that the CIA agents that came before the player's crew eventually discovered the "truth" behind human life and decided to make sacrifices to the alien monsters, praying for the aliens to devour all of humanity.
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  • The Bad Guy Wins: The ending, combined with the epilogue, strongly implies that no one except April survives the story. With April being revealed as a daughter of the alien monsters and Rouse having given "birth" to more, it seems likely that the monsters will continue to be a threat and everyone's sacrifice was for nothing.
  • Bag of Spilling: :After Chapter 3, the player loses all non-food items and equipment, forcing them to start from scratch. This is another way of saying "you will spend most of this chapter running".
  • Cosmic Horror: Part of the "terrible" truth behind human life. According to the cultists, the alien monsters seeded Earth long ago, planning to feed on them when they returned. With Harmonia moving toward Earth, this means humanity is ready to be harvested...
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The tone of the first part of the ending, where Barrett points out that Rouse was able to avert humanity's cruel fate by destroying Harmonia.
    • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Unfortunately, Rouse's incubation of the next brood of aliens and her subsequent "birthing" injuries means that she won't be able to finish the job in wiping out the aliens...
  • Difficulty Spike: Chapters 3 and 4 are a huge jump up from the difficulty of previous chapters, especially because they include the first mandatory fights in the game. Chapter 6 then makes those look easy, with a literal horde of enemies that can't be hidden from, numerous possible death events, and the toughest mandatory fight in the game.
  • Gender Reveal: Ellen Attlee reveals that he's actually a man if the player has a good relationship with him. Having been seen as feminine for much of his life, he had decided not to fight the perception and pretend to be a woman. If he survives, he implies that he'll accept being seen as a feminine man instead of pretending to be a woman after the mission is over.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The boss fight at the end of Chapter 4 is one of the easier boss fights. Its attacks are easily dodgable, and ammo for the only available weapon respawns when the player runs low. The additional enemies that appear partway through the fight are more of a threat. Contrast this with the chapter itself, which involves a weaponless player being forced to run and hide from numerous quick-moving enemies.
  • Have a Nice Death: Like its source of inspiration, Dead Space, the death animations can be fairly gory and drawn-out. Every enemy has a unique way of killing the player, and almost every quick time event will have a unique death animation.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Naomi Rouse can have her first name changed by the player during the opening to Chapter 1, and this name is used for save files and some NPC dialogue with Rouse. However, the convention of using last names for nameboxes means that the protagonist is always just "Rouse" when she speaks.
  • Homage: There are numerous references and shout-outs to Alien and Dead Space, to the point where one could make a list of them and not be sure they caught them all.
  • Mad Scientist: Kei Kuzumi averts this, despite his belief that the others might think of him as this for being the only Japanese scientist on the crew. He even explains the sanity system to the player, showing concern for Rouse's mental state. Unfortunately, he becomes one of these after prolonged contact with the alien tissue, turning on the rest of the crew. Even after he is apparently killed by the aliens, his body reanimates to try to attack Rouse.
  • The Medic: Doctor Franz Brandt and Nurse Annika Klein serve this role on the crew, tending to Rouse's injuries when she collapses after Chapter 2.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: The ideology of Major Aileen Callow, especially when her identity as a secret agent for the CIA is revealed. Despite believing that her superiors are making a mistake in trying to keep Harmonia, she follows orders and even threatens to kill the survivors that disobey commands. This is contrasted with Boardman, whose patriotism still recognizes the existence of internal threats to America. In his words, he signed up to fight threats "both foreign and domestic".
  • Panspermia: Being the namesake of the game, the Panspermia theory gets discussed a lot during the course of the game. Earth governments believe that the meteorite suggests this theory is true, and finding the truth of the matter is one of the reasons for the survey team's mission.
    • As it turns out, the "Alientelligent Design" variation is strongly implied near the end of the game, when the player finds single-celled organisms that share DNA with Earth-based life. The head cultist of the former CIA agents suggests that the alien monsters seeded Earth long ago, always planning to come back later to devour the resulting life forms.
  • Press X to Not Die: Many of the QTEs involve mashing the confirm button, or hitting the confirm button at the right moment. Failure usually leads to a messy death.
  • Relationship Values: A number of crewmates have special conversations if you speak to them first/more often than others, and the player can accept one sidequest from a crewmate in Chapter 1. Who the player favors will determine some of the events in the second half of the game. Notably, the crew member the player favors will survive the alien attack along with Barrett, and will save the player in the finale. Every crew member gives a reward/loot based on whether they are alive or dead, but some characters will give different rewards as survivors.
  • Sanity Meter: Starting in Chapter 3, the player must keep their sanity above a certain level to function properly. Allowing it to decrease (through damage or witnessing shocking events) will slow movement speed, increase damage taken, and eventually outright kill the player.
  • Shrinking Violet: Annika Klein speaks like one of these, likely due to her clumsiness.
  • Stealth-Based Game: A big focus of the game. Avoiding direct combat is heavily encouraged, as health and ammo are scarce and need to be conserved for the mandatory boss fights. In most cases, running away and hiding until enemies lose interest is the best option. The only part of the game where hiding is not an option that isn't a boss fight is one of the most difficult parts of the game, as the only option is to run.
  • The Stinger: A scene after the credits suggests the aftermath of the ending's twist. A survey team finds the ship after it escapes from Harmonia. Only two life forms are detected on the team's sensors, suggesting that April and a barely-alive Rouse are all that is left of the crew. Then the footsteps of Rouse's "children" are heard before we are returned to the title screen...
  • Suddenly Voiced: The protagonist, Naomi Rouse, barely speaks for most of the game, instead simply narrating her thoughts and allowing the player to choose dialogue options at certain points. This changes during the ending sequence, where Naomi suddenly makes a short speech to another character.
  • Twist Ending: At the very end of the game, April regains her memory and describes the final boss as her "Mother". After a flashback to the first time Rouse met an alien (and passed out), April reveals that Rouse has been incubating a new brood of aliens the whole time. Despite the foreshadowing throughout the game, this may come off as a Cruel Twist Ending to some, especially since Rouse won't likely survive the "birth" process.
  • Wrench Wench: Ellen Attlee seems to fill this role on the crew, being the ship's engineer. Subverted if the player learns that Attlee is a man.