Saturday, March 31, 2012


Every now and then, I decide to do something different. Take a break from the standard action shooter beat'em up whatever, and just relax. And this time, that something different is Journey.
Made by thatgamecompany, the creators of Flower (which Maggie mentioned in her demo round-up), Journey is a bit more involved than the relaxed petal guiding that is Flower. You play as a traveler, making your way through a vast desert towards a glowing mountain far in the distance. The mechanics are simple: move towards the mountain with the left stick, look around with either the right stick or by tilting the controller. Shortly into your journey, you will discover a scarf that allows you to jump and fly as long as it is magically charged, and throughout the various levels you can collect golden fragments that extend the length of the your scarf (allowing you to jump and fly farther before running out of charge). Your character sings at the press of a button (holding the button has the character sing a louder note), which is the primary means of interacting with the world, and with other players. Environments are beautiful, and it's a ton of fun flying around when you have a longer scarf.

Speaking of other players, Journey's 'multiplayer' is among the most intriguing I've ever encountered. Though your journey is usually a lonely one, you can and will encounter other travelers along the way. There isn't much you can do in the way of interaction. The only way you can interact with the other players is through your character's singing, which replenishes your companion's scarf, to provide some incentive to sticking together and cooperating. However, it's hard to convey much of a message through the simple chimes your characters make, unless by some coincidence both you and your companion are fluent in Morse code. Despite this lack of ability to communicate, or perhaps because of it, I felt far closer to my companion in Journey than essentially anybody else I have interacted with in games or on the internet. In particular, I think my experience of the final chapter would have been significantly different (though I don't know that it would have been worse) had I not had a companion for almost the entire chapter.
I don't have much else to say about Journey, so I'll end it here. In short, Journey is an extremely unique experience, the best words I can come up with to describe it are gorgeous and tranquil. I highly recommend it to anybody looking for something different.

No comments:

Post a Comment