The first thing you see here is a huge pile of rocks in a featureless desert. As you walk toward it they assemble themselves into a tower crowned with a halo of stone, a single glowing door at its base. Enter, and next thing you know you’re wandering around some kind of generic-looking warehouse.
Then it really starts to get weird.
Well, to the extent that putting things into categories matters to you, this is another one of those games that belongs to the same whatever-you-call-it genre as Naissance or RiME or stuff like that. They fall on a pretty wide spectrum, no two ever quite alike; yet they all seem to have some nebulous quality in common.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what that is, although you can point to certain hallmarks. Awe-inspiring architecture. Heavy use of silence and ambient sound. Little to no interface. An environment-driven story or else no clearly defined narrative structure at all.
Each one also tends to have a little something extra that makes it stand out from the rest. In this case it’s the way the visuals maintain their distinctly trippy edge from beginning to end. Keep going through that warehouse I mentioned and watch it get progressively crazier. Hallways bend and warp unnaturally; strange monsters start appearing; the shelves and fluorescent lights give way to enormous stone columns and bottomless pits, until by the end you find yourself in the realm of the completely bizarre.
Still, there’s a definite consistency to it as well. Motifs like the color scheme and the Aztec-looking totems run throughout, with an unusual blending of ancient and modern that leads you believe it was inspired by more than just somebody’s desire to be weird and confusing.
It’s got that so-strange-you-can’t-make-it-up sort of feeling that gives you the distinct impression that it must mean something, although I’ll be damned if I could tell you what. Like a dream, though, you just kind of roll with it and keep moving forward; and eventually your suspicions are confirmed.
Yeah, there is a story to the origin of this game, which you do eventually learn. I’m not sure if it counts as a spoiler or not, so to be on the safe side I won’t tell you. Suffice it to say that it really did crawl out of the dark recesses of someone’s subconscious, which probably makes it even more creepy; but you can be the judge.
I realize I haven’t talked much about the actual game, but what’s there to say, huh? Other than some environmental-type puzzles, evading a few monsters and not falling to your death you’re mainly here just to walk around and marvel at all this stuff.
It might have started getting old if it had gone on any longer, but the game manages to clock in at just the right length for something like this. I probably could have played it all in one sitting if I hadn’t got motion sick. No joke, the head bob in this one is absolute murder, especially in the more closed-in sections, and there’s no escaping it.
I may not know what to make of the rest of it, but my urge to throw up after 45 minutes of walking around in there was completely real, I can tell you that.