What Remains of Edith Finch

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Developer: Giant Sparrow | Released: 2017 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This is probably the best walking simulator facile adventure game I have played so far. The variation of the minigames told through the stories of the family members was out of this world, as was the detail of the abundance of small prefabs inside the house. A lot of love went into this game.

The game told the story of the Finch family, as the protagonist moves through the many rooms of a house with strange protruding expansions on top. At first it felt a lot in the vein of Gone Home, which also moves you through various rooms of a house, telling a story. But this one was superior because of the individual stories of the Finch family. It turns out all of the family members are deceased, and most of their stories explain how their death came about. It was often weird or dramatic.

The Old City: Leviathan

Developer: PostMod Softworks | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

Time for another short one that took me approximately two hours to complete. It was a thoroughbred walking simulator facile adventure where all I could do was explore by walking – or light running that was actually just faster walking – open doors, read typewritten letters mostly glued on walls, and sometimes listen to a sentence or two by… myself? A friend?

That was sometimes hard to tell, but his audible acting was excellent.

Most of the time it was borderline pretentious nonsense, but there were exceptions where he aired a philosophical opinion that was actually interesting for once. Like the stuff about depression and suicide, for example. And then it was back to “truth having to be compatible with itself” and blah blah blah.

Fortunately the surroundings were often detailed and pretty, although also infected with reusable prefabs such as conspicuously dead rats and an abundance of littered soda cans. It did start out with samey rooms, corridors, pipes and factory stuff that perhaps overstayed its welcome, but it soon meandered into surreal crypts, medieval architecture, a beach with flooded trains, a subway, and the return of an enormous Minotaur statue. And several of the total of 11 chapters ended by me leaping into nothingness.

Sometimes it felt like sort of a surreal version of INFRA.

Apart from just walking around, I sometimes found and unlocked a cube. I found a total of seven of these. I don’t think they served any other purpose than as a collection to see if I explored thoroughly. Most of the levels had multiple paths around the facility. Having to accept missing out on a hallway or two was not uncommon. Later I learned to postpone opening doors clearly marked as the exit.

7/10

NaissanceE

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Developer: Limasse Five | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, First PersonSpoilers: Medium

June 19, 2021

I’ve played almost 4 hours of this exploration adventure game today and it is probably the most egregious example of a game I have a strong love/hate relationship with. It has the most epic levels with an expanse I haven’t seen probably since Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria. I’m a drooling sucker for such things, and when it also have really interesting architecture like it did here, I’m definitely in for the long run.

Unfortunately, the wonderful walks or casual jumping was sometimes spiced up with demanding jumping puzzles, some of which were downright sadistic. I don’t think I’ve been cursing and shouting like this at a game for years. Sometimes I was wondering if the developer was secretly hating its audience, especially during a tunnel sequence on a long rotating shaft.

But I get ahead of myself.

Etherborn

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Developer: Altered Matter | Released: 2019 | Genre: Platform, Puzzle

Another short one. Took me less than 3½ hours. Not that I mind – I like short games these days. I’m trying to dry out my backlog, so it’s usually either that or a sample for my blog series about short sessions.

Etherborn was a third person puzzle platform game with a beautiful art style. The rules were actually quite simple. I could change the direction of gravity by walking around certain curved edges, changing floors into walls or ceilings. Gems picked up could be put in placeholders to e.g. slide out a bridge, swoosh in a piece of additional level structure, or raise a set of stairs from a pool of acid.

This was the second game I played with my Xbox One gamepad. The subtly tilted or skewed camera angles didn’t work well with keyboard and mouse. Good thing I’ve found my peace with gamepads.

For the most part I enjoyed this casual game. Apart from the brilliant graphics and a generally good feel of controlling the transparent silent protagonist, the music was also exquisite. I especially liked how the music moved into complex jazz chords in the the most intricate parts of the fourth level. That was fitting.

The game did have some issues, though.

Journey

Developer: thatgamecompany | Released: 2020 | Genre: Adventure, 3D

Being a PC gamer I’m quite late to this exploration game, but now that I’ve played it, I sure understand why everybody have been so excited about it. It was pure bliss. Like playing in an interactive series of the best wallpaper art you can imagine. No words – just amazing violins and cellos.

The basic rules were as simple as the controls. I could move (sometimes glide down sand dunes) and gain a limited floating ability by touching strips of living cloth. A strip on my back worked as an energy bar for it. Sometimes I reached and chimed at an altar and watched a history emerging on a wall.

I could meet other players too. There was no exchange – they were just sort of there.

The art, the level design and the lighting was fantastic. The hot desert in the beginning had layers of sand rustling across the dunes. As I got closer to a mountain, snow took over. There were even blizzards where I sometimes had to seek cover to avoid a setback. Later I also had to sort of sneak past big rock birds. If their spotlight found me, a laser beam blasted me backwards. There was no dying in this game.

It took me less than 2 hours to reach the end. Short, but definitely worth it.

10/10

Short Sessions, Part 4

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This is another post in my series about the odd games that I have decided not to complete, although I will at least try them out for up to an hour. This no longer just applies to free games or games given to me by a friend that had several keys of the same game to give away. It now also applies to games that I just didn’t feel like continuing. I want the game to really grab me before I want to see the end of it.

  • Kholat
  • Mark of the Ninja
  • The Darkness II
  • Munin
  • Miasmata

Homesick

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Developer: Lucky Pause | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, First PersonSpoilers: Puzzles

This first person adventure looked crazy good. Yes, it was mostly gray and samey corridors and dilapidated apartments, but the level of detail was marvelous. In one of the bigger halls, the wallpaper was coiling off the walls in the most convincing manner, I have ever seen in a video game.

It was also relaxing for the most part, although it wasn’t just a walking simulator facile adventure.

I woke up in a bed in an apartment complex where the sun coming through the windows was unpleasant. Getting too close oversaturated the light in a hurtful way. Some corridors had too many windows and thus were impossible to traverse. The dilapidated state of everything made it look like something straight out of Pripyat near Chernobyl. Of course none of the switches or faucets worked.

And to make matters even worse, the papers and books found everywhere were written in gibberish.

Short Sessions, Part 3

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This is another post in my series about the games I only taste for an hour or even less. Originally it was meant for the odd games that I would normally discard anyway such as free games, games given to me by a friend that had several keys of the same game to give away, or games that for other reasons just kind of popped up in e.g. my Steam library without me knowing how they ever got there in the first place.

However, as I’ve grown even less enthusiastic about games, I’ve decided to expand this to whatever I just don’t feel like continuing, even if it’s a game I originally intended for a larger fate. The reasons may be many and perhaps sometimes even petty, but I’ve decided that I want the game to really grab me before I want to see the end of it. This also means that you may be seeing a lot more of these posts in the future.

  • DeadCore
  • Color Symphony
  • Her Story
  • Exanima
  • The Descendant

RiME

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Developer: Tequila Works | Released: 2017 | Genre: Adventure, Puzzle

This charming third person adventure came very close to making me relive the pure fondness I had for PC games almost two decades ago. Now I understand why Nicouse found it so enchanting.

In fact, it was so beautiful and imaginative that I just can’t for the life of me understand why so many of the professional review sites mashed it down to typically a rating of 6-7. It’s a crime, plain and simple. A typical complaint is that the game feels too much like boring busywork solving puzzles barely challenging at all, but that’s not fair. Although it’s true that many of its puzzles were fairly pedestrian, the game really did its best to vary the rules and surroundings, and the level graphics were often epic and jaw dropping.

I wonder if some of those cynical game reviewers weren’t just worn down veterans?

The story was quite simple, almost non-existent, until the final hour of the 6+ hours it took me to complete it. A boy was washed ashore on a small island and I had to run around, shouting at figurines to make their energy empower an avatar in the middle. There was no dialog. It’s true what they said – the inspiration of games like Ico was quite apparent, and the climbing was virtually Tomb Raider.

Beyond Eyes

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Developer: Tiger & Squid | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

Regarding brightness, this game was the polar opposite of Among the Sleep. Here white was consistently dominating the screen. It was short – about two hours, including one level restart because of a bug.

Rae, a little girl blind after an accident, had to go look for her friend, Nani – which was an orange cat. The game was quite unique in the way it used her blindness as a gimmick. I was walking her around removing white “fog of war” that was drawn depending on being in close vicinity. Sometimes, a noise in the distance could temporarily show a hotspot, like a woodpecker working a tree or a church bell. There were also permanent hotspots created by constant sounds such as a streaming river or a waterfall.

Most of the game was about finding my way through fields and a village, uncovering white fog. Sometimes she was smelling the cat thus showing where to go next, and there were very light tasks such as throwing bread for seagulls to get out of the way, or fetching a ball for another girl.