Broken Rules’ adventure game, Old Man’s Journey released last year on PC and mobile and has now come to the Nintendo Switch. At first glance, it becomes apparent that it is more about the story and visual experience, whilst providing a puzzle-like gameplay mechanic. Does the journey have plenty of life in it?
The story is entirely visual which can be a tough obstacle to overcome for the developer to actually let the player know what is going on. They tell most of it via the games title to be honest, it’s a journey that an old man embarks on. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that, there is hidden context behind the name, whilst travelling with stick in hand (that is not a euphemism), you recall memories of events that have taken place in your seasoned life. It’s quite beautiful.
Controlling the world around the main character is the gameplay hook, that’s the unique selling point if you will. Each scene is built up of multiple layers of various backdrops which form more often than not, mountains. In order to progress you need to manipulate these layers in such a way that a path is formed, allowing the old man to venture a little further. At first I was put off, but once I realised that the touchscreen can be used, the gameplay just had me and kept me interested and captivated with what was possible.
The puzzles I encountered ranged from simple, to those needing a little bit of thought into how to overcome. If you’re not particularly good at puzzles, have no fear, because it’s not quite as challenging as some titles out there in the wild. The ease of access is appreciated and is good for appealing to a wider field of gamers.
Games really need to stop being so damn stunning, because I feel like I now overuse the word. But damn, the visuals really are just a breath of fresh air. Each scene just seems carefully crafted with great attention to detail in terms of colours and shading, with the results being a look that almost bursts from the screen. Being honest, there are a ton of views that would look great having them blown up onto a canvas and hung on the wall.
I love a nice chilled out happy tune which this game has in spades. There are sections where the music takes a more sombre approach and puts a stamp on the more emotional and sad moments. Absolutely boasting fantastic sound design that allowed me to lose myself in the adventure.
I found it to be a little short in content, being able to complete the game in the space of 1-2 hours. In my mind it kind of left me a little unsatisfied, I felt that the end just kind of happens, without much warning.
If you are looking for action, you are not going to find it, instead, enjoy this peaceful and thought-provoking stroll. Old Man’s Journey tells a compelling story without any dialogue, delivers an enjoyable gameplay hook, and a unique atmosphere brought about by smart visual and audio design. Now that, is game design at its finest.
OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Old Man’s Journey, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)