For most games, the final pay off is what gives the journey through the game its meaning. Voyage is different; when you reach the destination, you may be none the […]
For most games, the final pay off is what gives the journey through the game its meaning.
Voyage is different; when you reach the destination, you may be none the wiser as to what’s actually happened over the course of the game. Fittingly, the journey – or Voyage (!) – is the whole point of the experience; not just the ending.
It’s a gorgeous, beautifully crafted audiovisual experience. Environments and characters feel hand painted; it’s almost as if you’re interacting with a moving set of art pieces.
Essentially a basic platform puzzler, the gentle environmental conundrums never really faze you for long. There’s a button which highlights areas of interest so you’re never too lost; you’ll need to go either left or right (sometimes maybe find a ledge to climb), push or pull an object into place or even help your partner – you control one of a pair of characters, but can switch between them – to climb a steep wall, for example. There’s nothing too taxing and you’ll likely reach the ending within a few hours.
Its wordless, entirely dialogue free story – which sees two characters make their way through some hauntingly deserted environments, as well as a few that seem to be actually haunted by ghosts or even some genuinely alien life forms – is mesmerising and pretty much open to interpretation.
I must admit that I often didn’t really know what was going on, but the beauty of the Ghibli-esque animation and stunningly evocative soundtrack kept me pushing ahead, perhaps simply to experience the next environment and its accompanying score. I got surprisingly attached to the main characters too – who even have a ‘hug’ move that they can do any time they’re close together – and when one of them seemed to perish, my heart sank.
I was absolutely mesmerised by Voyage. It’s short, sweet and despite being a bit obtuse in terms of its narrative, utterly absorbing too. If a game being more art than cohesive narrative experience doesn’t put you off, you’ll likely be as enamoured with Voyage’s charms as I was. Despite not fully grasping the narrative, the ending had a surprisingly big and lasting impact on me too.
Though in my opinion the long debate on whether or not games can be art is settled, Voyage is just another very clear example of a game that succeeds at being an incredible work of art as well as a gentle and absorbing interactive experience too.
Voyage is out now for PS4/5, Xbox and Switch. Many thanks to PR Hound for providing me with a code for review purposes.
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