Game Review: Journey

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game review
game design
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Published

December 1, 2022

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Explore the ancient, mysterious world of Journey as you soar above ruins and glide across sands to discover its secrets.

I am again late this one but I am so grateful I found the time to play it. Journey is a masterpiece in design. Everything is stripped down the most basic elements of play and built out again with a simple, beutiful world guided by a nameless character. You do not know who you are; you do not know what you are; you do not know where you are. What you know is that you are in a peaceful desert which leads you on towards your next destination with nothing but what is right in front of your eyes. The controls are also simple - there is but direction, communucate and eventually fly - which means you can quickly experiment to find the almost none that exist and start your own journey.

The world uses the environment to guide you along towards little puzzles and problems in turn revealing just a bit more than it did before. If you like exploring, then there are stone murals spread through the levels which build more about the world. And, as you move through the hidden and voiceless world around you then game adds on it’s next real surpise: other random people will join in your adventure to help you solve the puzzles. But, since there is no way to talk to one another you are left to communicate with nothing but your actions. This was a surprisingly wonderful experience as I ended up walking up the mountain with someone else I didn’t know - and actually cared that they made it up with me.

After completing the game, I was sure that they were real people and not bots but with how long the game has been out I felt compelled to check that my companion was real. And, they were in fact real! The game holds a steady level of just under 100 players at any time. I cannot wait to be one of those people and come back to experience walking up the mountain with others again.