I remember the first day I sat down to buy a game on the Playstation Network. I was feeling rebellious to my budget and wanted to throw down some cash for some action. I ended up buying That Game Company’s Flower. While at first the game didn’t earn me many man points, I was pleasantly surprised at That Game Company’s ability to pull on emotional chords with its stellar composition and pacing. For this reason, their new title Journey has me ready to ignore my games budget, yet again.
Journey, much like Flower and Flow, incorporates stunning visuals and ambient melodies for a different gaming experience. This time around, the developers take us to the flowing sands of a desert with a large mountain visible in the distance. You play as a survivor made of cloth. You are not sure what has happened to the world around you, but the journey should help you find out.
To help, the game only provides direction through visual and small auditory queues. No I am not talking arrows and narration, it is more artistic than that. Floating pieces of cloth in the distance or possibly ruins peppering the landscape are used to peak the player’s curiosity, pulling them towards the next area. As the player collects these pieces of cloth, paths will begin to open up helping the player reach the next area of exploration. Smaller pieces of cloth are added to the players scarf, helping them fly for short periods of time.
That Game Company seems to be aiming at improvement over the previous titles Flower and Flow. One way they are achieving this improvement is through the new addition of multiplayer functions. While traveling through the desert, a random person can suddenly appear within your game. There is no communication between the players other than the ability to throw a small rune above one’s head that emits a small audio queue. This and visual movements are the only way for the players to interact, keeping the emotion and mystery we’ve come to expect, safely intact. Should a player wander too far from another, they will simply just disappear, leaving you once again alone in the barren sands.
That Game Company set forth with the idea of providing a different type of gaming experience and Journey is no deviation. With incredible visuals, great ambiance, and mysterious stories to unfold, Journey is a strong argument for games as art that many players will enjoy.
There is no release date announced yet, but the company assures us that it will be released to the Playstation Network sometime in 2011.