Game: Old Man’s Journey
Developer: Broken Rules
Publisher: Broken Rules
Age Rating: E for everyone (America), 3+ ( Europe and UK)
Price: £ 8.99 | € 9,99| $ 9.99
Release Date: 20 February 2018
(The game is also available on Steam, XBox, PlayStation, iOS and Android)
Overall feeling: I like it a Lot!
(Review code generously provided by the publisher)
To this day I remember watching the movie Up! together with my little girl, who was 10 years old at the time. A poignant story of an old man who had lost his beloved wife and in his loneliness turned into a grumpy guy. He decides to follow his lifelong dream, attach thousands of balloons to his house and to simply fly away.
So sweet and so relatable, especially when you see your own parents growing old and you know that there will be a time to say goodbye.
Old Man’s Journey manages to convey the same feeling of days gone by, a life lived and now almost over, and memories in abundance. And manages to do that without a single word!
The game starts out with the Old Man getting a letter from the postman. A letter that makes him go inside the house and come out again with a backpack. It’s clear that he intends to go on a journey, although we have no idea where.
Soon it becomes clear from little scenes that are triggered by the player that the old man is on a sentimental journey. Clicking on certain items or images in the screen, that Man relives a memory from his life. Still, no word is spoken or text is written. The images still make you feel a certain kind of melancholy though.
The game is a sort of side scrolling adventure but this time side scrolling means in a zig-zag kind of pattern. It’s pretty clear where you have to go: starting out on the top, you’ll need to go to the bottom. And starting out in the bottom of the screen, it’s only reasonable that you have to go up.
Although the Man can make very small jumps under his own steam, it’s up to the player to make sure the landscape is such that he can navigate to his goal. This is done by pulling the hills, streets and horizons up, or pushing them down.
You can do this by using the buttons, but here’s where the Switch shines: the touchscreen works very well too!
Changing Things Around
If every level would have you do the same, things would get a bit boring. So the game introduces new things as you go, like a level where you have to slide down waterfalls to get where you want.
Or a level that has you guide a train by making the rails connect. There are sheep as well that you have to herd to get farther. And remember, all of this without text or explanation. And still, it’s clear what you have to do.
The artwork is beautiful, just like looking at a painting. And the memory screens not only look good, but they show you why the Old Man is where he is now in the autumn of his life.
This game is obviously a port, as it’s already out on every gaming device out there. Having said that, it fits well on the Switch, only adds to the game as it’s so easy to maneuver with the touch screen.
The music is sweet and very fitting, and changes each level. It starts out on an optimistic note, but as we learn more about the choices the Old Man made it turns to a more somber mood.
Broken Rules have made this puzzle game unlike others, just like a 3D painting where you can go behind every layer on the screen. I won’t give any more away for fear of spoiling the plot. But I’m awed how they can convey the feeling without text.
Theres one thing though: the game has no replay value, when you have found out the story there’s no reason to go back. And with so many versions already out there ( at a lower price for instance on mobile) I do wonder if there’s a good reason to go for it on the Switch.
Taking that into consideration I still give this game an I like it a Lot.