Here’s an indie game landmark from Thatgamecompany over in California of America. Released in 2012, it holds legendary status in the industry. A title steeped in Zen, it’s a beautiful experience with added emotional heft.
Journey the Spectacular Indie Game
Lightning Ellen did a proper belting review of Journey a while back. That inspired us to get it… but until recently it was only available on the noobfest PlayStation 3 and 4.
However, it’s now on Epic Games for PC and at £15 it’s a steal. Thatgamecompany also did a surprise iOS release for $5 the other day.
— Annapurna Interactive (@A_i) 6 August 2019
Hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, it didn’t take long for us to realise the extent of its impressive artistic credentials.
The story follows a robed individual in a desert. Through the wordless adventure, you travel in, under, and around the crumbling ruins of a civilisation.
As you revitilase some of the sand eroded remains, you work your way to an enormous and rumbling mountain. What sort of revelation awaits!?
It’s the type of game you really should play alone in peace and quiet. Or if someone has to be there with you, tell them to shut the hell up.
Titles like GRIS are clearly influenced by Journey, they’re relaxing to play and quite breathtaking at times.
Jenova Chen directed it. And he ensured the focus is very much of overwhelming graphical wonder and awe. Behold!
The opening sections are quite wonderful as you guide the robed individual across the dunes, which part under his or her feet in loving fashion.
You soon learn the ability for gusty jumps that carry you along. And you befriend some bird-like/flying carpet sorts who also assist you.
And soon enough the desert sections give way to an underground city, which leads you onto the side of the giant mountain you stare at from a distance at the beginning of Journey.
Yes, you’re going to have to climb the thing. And it gets pretty dramatic as the onslaught of the weather arrives, leaving your heroic protagonist to battle on.
Things build up from there to an emotional finale with a focus on ramping up the spectacle as you reach the peak of the mountain.
Right, this is a short, but truly excellent, indie game that set major benchmarks back in 2012. It’s a statement to the industry that small developers can make grand scale projects too.
For gameplay, it’s fairly simplistic. Thegamecompany instead drag you through an emotional journey against the elements.
It’s a quietly eerie experience steeped in a sense of solitude. And it’s marvellous. You can even watch it all unfold as if it were an animated movie.
As a highly introspective experience it’s one we thoroughly recommend.
The art style alone is distinctive and highly impressive. Sand never looked quite so amazing—it shimmers in the sunlight and reacts realistically as you trudge across it.
Atmospherics is the name of the game, though, and Journey delivers a memorable experience that already has us wanting to return for a second playthrough.
Journey’s Glorious Soundtrack
As with so many games these days, the music is quite something. Austin Wintory is behind Journey’s epic sounds.
It rarely overwhelms proceedings as there aren’t specific “tracks” or anything.
Instead it rumbles and surges in the background, very much like indie game masterpiece INSIDE. As if it’s one long, unbroken composition.
And as the backdrop to the Journey experience, it floats in and out fittingly as you marvel at the beauty of the world around you.