Let me take you on a trip through the sand and snow and to a place where flowers grow
You are in a desert, all around you is sand and ruins. In the far distance is a huge mountain with a cleft at it's peak. Who are you? Where are you? More importantly, why are you drawn to that mountain?
So begins a little gem of a Playstation 3 game by ThatGameCompany called Journey.
Your character is an oddly shrouded figure with really skinny legs and you wander around the desert both sliding in the sand and flying through the air, always with the mountain as your goal. There are no words spoken during the game, just the haunting music and the occasional cutscene with a larger, and altogether whiter, version of yourself showing you a once thriving civilisation.
As you progress, you encounter other beings. At first I thought these were 'shadows' showing you where to go, but it turns out they are other players at the exact same point in the game. It makes it feel not quite so lonely.
There are puzzles to solve, things to find, and it turns out, a variety of different areas. Caves with monsters that you just have to avoid because you don't carry any weapons and areas that look like machinery which have become overgrown with vegetation for you to fly up and around.
After leaving one cave you find yourself in a snowy landscape, walk for a while and collapse. The large white figure appears, revives you and you continue your journey, always heading for the mountain.
Upon reaching the mountain, you climb and climb and when you get to the top you turn into light and soar towards it. After a lovely little cut-scene you start to float away back the way you came and eventually back to the beginning.
This game is meant to played over and over again, joining other players and finding all the secrets and slaloming through towers in the snow. It's quite short, I took about two hours on the first playthrough, but is most beguiling.
Originally only available as a download, the disc version contains two other games by the same company. Flow which is rather hard to describe, but you start as and amoeba-type thing, consume other amoeba type things, get bigger eat the bigger things and so on and so forth, apparently there is an end, I've just not found it yet. The other is called Flower and well, your a flower or more precisely a flower petal and your aim to make the landscape bloom by drifting to other flowers and removing a petal from them. The more flowers that bloom, the bigger the trail of petals.
All three are quite fascinating, incredibly beautiful, and have wonderful musical scores. I'll be popping back to these over the summer and beyond.