The World Be­gins With You wak­ing.


Ien­joy a ver­bose ad­ven­ture game as much as the next per­son, but there’s some­thing to be said for games that drop you into a world, with­out a lengthy cutscene jus­ti­fy­ing your pres­ence.

The World Be­gins With You opens in such a man­ner, with your char­ac­ter wak­ing up in an old prison cell in an empty build­ing. With its enig­matic pro­tag­o­nist, its crumb­ing an­cient ru­ins and its ex­quis­ite pre­sen­ta­tion, this is a game ob­vi­ously in­spired by the likes of Jour­ney and ICO. TWBWY’s main strength is clearly its beau­ti­ful set­ting, which con­sists of mono­lithic struc­tures and an­gu­lar boul­ders jut­ting out of a se­ries of softly lit ru­ins. The 3D mod­els, the cin­e­matic cam­era and, above all, the light­ing ef­fects are some of the most im­pres­sive I’ve seen in a jam game.

Per­haps too im­pres­sive, as the washed-out vis­ual ef­fect is so pro­nounced that it can be dif­fi­cult to de­ci­pher the scene at times. Once you’ve fled from your prison cell, a cou­ple of sim­ple maze se­quences, a pun­ish­ing pseudo-stealth bit and plenty of tricky 3D plat­form­ing lie be­tween you and the abrupt con­clu­sion, and all are oc­ca­sion­ally made more dif­fi­cult as a re­sult of that blind­ing light.

I can’t say that any of the chal­lenges felt es­pe­cially sat­is­fy­ing— in par­tic­u­lar, those arty cam­era an­gles made leap­ing across chasms a frus­trat­ing af­fair—but when it’s merely con­tent to leave you be in­side its lov­ingly ru­ined world, The World Be­gins With You feels like the start of some­thing spe­cial.

Alas, the game is over just as it’s on the cusp of of­fer­ing some­thing much more mean­ing­ful, so don’t go in ex­pect­ing any con­crete an­swers to its myr­iad mys­ter­ies.

Say what you like about the sun, it makes things look pretty.

The plat­form­ing can be fid­dly due to the fixed cam­era an­gles.

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