My online tabletop roleplaying game was canceled so I found myself with some free time. “I should play a computer game,” I thought. After filtering my bloated Steam library down to games that only take three-ish hours or less to finish (according to HowLongToBeat) and games rated above eighty percent or so (according to Metacritic or similar), I decided to play Old Man’s Journey.
I was an old man, traveling across a hand-painted countryside, accompanied only by french sounding accordion music and my dusty memories. And occasionally a goat. To progress, I had to raise and lower hills so I could step between them on my hike of forced perspective. These puzzles started out easy, but were actually quite challenging by the end–what, with waterfalls and goats and stone fences needing smashing by rolling stone wheels. (Admittedly, the challenge might have come more from the lateness of the hour than the game itself, but the result was the same.) The story, as told through occasional flashback vignettes, also increased in emotional impact as the game progressed. (Again, this might have been two AM talking, but I don’t care.)
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this game at first. I fell asleep that night and dreamed about it, about being that old man on those rolling hills. I woke up unable to separate my memories of the game from the quickly dissolving impressions left by my dream. But isn’t that the idea? Maybe? Whatever. I recommend it.