A couples weeks ago I purchased a Nintendo Connect and because of how expensive it was despite it being on sale my game purchasing was incredibly limited and I ended up getting Old Man Journey by Broken Rules released in May of 2017 and winner of so many awards and honourable mentions that if I would mention them all I would begin to bore you. Now I have made a few regretful purchases in my life and I am happy to say this isn’t one of them.
This story is a fascinating work with a plot that keeps expanding the further you play. You’re an old man if you haven’t guessed by the title and one day you receive a letter and off you go on a journey for a reason you will discover bit by bit as you aren’t told by words but by simple pictures with minimum movement so this comes off as memories from the old man you are playing as and you slowly start to piece together what has happened for him to end up alone in a house near the sea.
The game is incredibly pleasant to look at. I was not repulsed a single minute I was playing, it truly drags you into the world with it’s picture style art work that makes you feel like your reading a story rather than playing a game. The mechanics are fairly simple at the start of the game it shows you how to move around lining up pieces to move forward on to hills and further inward a cat reveals that you aren’t just limited to walking on hills and walkways but roof tops as well which is a nice touch in terms of tutorials as this game doesn’t use any words at all and having a finger showing you what to do is a bit in your face for the storybook way this game is presented. You can also move objects to further your way in the game and other times when clicking on certain objects this will trigger a memory from the old man, it’s usually incredibly obvious on what you need to touch for these events to unfold as the backgrounds while bright and colourful is not filled with so much junk that you don’t know what to click next, so you won’t be standing around for 8 hours wondering what you should I do to keep advancing. A plus for me is that I couldn’t die in this world or receive any damage no matter what actions I took and I as I hate that happening because it freaks me out despite it not being real, so if you aren’t a fan of that happening in any shape or form you may enjoy this game. The soundtrack is wonderful, my ears are still ringing from joy going from modern music to classic styles in the same melody during the memory scene’s and with the way that it’s tuned makes it sound as though it’s coming out of an old radio which really sells that these are his memory’s and the soundtrack we are listening to the song of his life which has it’s up’s and down’s when treading through his life. With out giving away the ending what happens is very fulfilling no open endings nothing up for interpretation it’s straight forward and although there are no words you know what’s happening, you are never lost searching for what is going which is what I’m looking for in games. This game is more of a interactive movie than anything and if you keep that in your head as you play you can truly reflective on the experience of the story.
While I loved playing this game I noticed key factors that may bother certain people. The core mechanics never evolve or present any change through the game. It’s short I finished it within 2 hours and has little to no replay value and there is little interactions with the environment. All of the these things don’t really bug me as I like short games and because the core mechanics don’t change through the game you always know what your doing I find that happens so that the picture book story telling goes uninterrupted but some people who are into evolving game mechanics may not enjoy this.
This game may not be for everyone but it is for me as it’s all the marks I look for in a game, beautiful artwork, a good story and short. If you thought the game sounded right for you just download it. The cost is less then $20 on Nintedo Switch, Steam and PSP4. May your travels be enlightening and a little weird.