Old Man’s Journey
May the road rise to meet you – literally
$4.99 From Broken Rules, oldmansjourney.com Made for iPhone, iPad Needs iOS 10.0 or later
Old men. Heartbreak. Redemption… And lots and lots of walking. These are the main ingredients of Old Man’s Journey, a story told through wordless vignettes of one man’s life as he walks across hills, mountains and seas to find… something. You are his guide, of sorts, dragging the scenery around him to clear the path and help him continue. You can pull up hills to meet his feet, creating zig-zags of landscape, or leave him to pause on an immovable part such as a house, bench, or lighthouse, as you rejig the curves of the land to create a way forward – since you can’t move anything he’s on.
There’s a lot of fun to be had manipulating the undulating countryside and pulling boats across water with your finger. It feels responsive, and gentle, as the curves of the hills slide up and down to where you want them. There’s also the calming pleasure of interacting with small objects in the background, such as window shutters, trees, and waterfalls, which react to your touch in various ways. It’s a wellthought out piece of design that doesn’t affect the plot in any way, but gives you a little spark of happiness for making a mark on the game.
The world feels vibrant and alive, done in a memorable, gorgeous pastel crayon style. It’s cleverly reminiscent of something Mediterranean, all soft terracotta and azure colors, flowers climbing up the plaster of a hotel wall, soft clouds scudding across a blue, blue sky. The game never explicitly reveals where it’s set, but you can imagine a Greek coast, a small Italian island, or the south of France, sun-faded and lilac-scented.
The small vignettes - the old man’s memories - are so perfectly painted and composed that you’ll want to linger on them for as long as possible.
Old Man’s Journey can be slow and even a bit frustrating at times - one section set on a train particularly so - but it just doesn’t really matter when the story and the view are both heartwarmingly, purely good.
the bottom line. One of the most beautiful games we’ve seen in a while, with a story that’ll make you weep.
The use of color in this game is simply beautiful, going from sunsets to candy-colored hills.