Feast for the eyes

Old Man’s Jour­ney

GAX (Malaysia) - - REV IEW - By Michael Low

Lost at sea

De­spite be­ing a rel­a­tively young medium, video games have been a bedrock for unique sto­ry­telling ex­pe­ri­ences. More of­ten than not, in­die de­vel­op­ers de­sign their both bud­getary and tech­ni­cal Aus­tria-based Bro­ken Rules, for ex­am­ple, has done away with di­a­log boxes and voice-overs by em­ploy­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal sto­ry­telling in Old Man’s Jour­ney. The jour­ney in ques­tion takes the tit­u­lar Old Man through the vast, idyl­lic French coun­try­side, brought to life by gor­geous hand-painted back­drops that are lay­ered with lit­tle an­i­mated touches like tele­phone lines and blades of grass sway­ing in the wind.

The puz­zles in Old Man’s Jour­ney re­volve around en­vi­ron­ment ma­nip­u­la­tion, which typ­i­cally in­volve drag­ging lay­ers of rolling hills (and the art of sheep herd­ing) to guide the Old Man from one point to an­other. But there’s one sim­ple rule to follow: you can­not move the ground where the Old Man is stand­ing on. Along the way, vignettes into the Old Man’s past that ex­pertly con­vey his back­story with the back­ing of a gen­tle, melan­choly score. All in all, Old Man’s Jour­ney tells an in­ti­mate story with­out over­stay­ing its wel­come.

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