Time passes, and the babe becomes a child, full of wonder and her journey begins, a journey that will see her grow into adulthood and on the way she will learn many secrets and even write her story in the stars.
Seems a simple enough tale, but like the classic Ico there is more too the tale than meets the eye, although she will be guided by the Ancient One, she will take on the main journey by herself, climbing not only the tower but the tree that grows up the center of it. Oh and did I forget to mention the Dragon?.....
Do not panic, you won't be guiding her through this tale without some equipment or protection. As you can see from the image here she will find a sword and some chain mail and in time a shield, but first she must go on a physical and a spiritual journey. Touching a special stone marker will take her to a place where she can learn something about the nature of life itself.
She does this by tracing a rune or an icon by following it's outline and tracing it out with salt. It's a strange little tale that's for sure, and it's hard to describe it, and as you play you will be wondering just what the heck is it all about anyway? To be frank, now that I have committed this review to paper (as it were) I'm still not entirely sure what it's about even now. Why was she left in the cave? Who is her guide? And why must she climb the tree and play hide and seek with a Dragon, who'se breath can turn things to stone. It's all very weird indeed.
It has been developed and written by a Brazillian studio and writer so I can only assume that it's tied too some Brazillian mythological tale. But there are revelations that are uncovered as you proceed, but to mention them would give away key elements, and as you know we do NOT do spoilers here....
You will go to places that are underwater, in a desert and places in between, where the icons are traced in salt, and constellations become visible in the night sky. On the way you may be assaulted by strange little black creatures that try and push you away, but you can fight them off and make your way forward. Should you die, you'll find yourself fully healed and back in the cave, ready to dust yourself down and resume your quest.
But as time passes you will face the dragon and you start playing a dangerous game of hide and seek and should you lose you will be petrified by it's glare. In time, you can face it with the sword, but that's no guarantee that you will not once more, find yourself reawakening in the cave where it all began.
So that's the tale in a nutshell, but how do you play?
Right stick changes the viewing angle, the young lady is moved with the left stick. She interacts with the environment when prompted by pressing X or square. It has to be said that other reviews will complain about the sticky and awkward controls; the game recieved a huge patch to correct these issues but it has to be said it has not been a 100% successful.
There can be a delay in pressing the attack button and the character actually fighting back. Annoying to say the least, but at least the camera angles are now improved although the old glitch sometimes raises it's head.
It's short but it's also challenging and in it's own way it's a journey that will evoke emotions, that is when you are not fighting the urge to launch the controller into orbit. Yes the bugs have not been completely corrected and it's not at all clear as to what you are doing or even why you are doing it, but you will discover soon enough that this is a life journey you are on and the ending....well it left me thinking wow, that was a tad emotional. It's no Journey or even Bastion but it may engage some of you out there.
To play something different, something frustrating at times but easy on the eye and with a very pleasent soundtrack. It's no ground breaking triple a title, it's no hack and slash Skyrim style adventure but it is a slow burning tale that will puzzle, entertain and frustrate in somewhat equal measure.
An aquired taste I think. Having played through it once, I can not see myself playing it again to seek anything I may have missed as there are no side quests so to speak, it's an on the rails rpg, puzzle adventure and that perhaps, is it's biggest fault. Lack of side quests or alternative activities to do beside follow the main tale, will perhaps make you feel somewhat railroaded. I liked it but there were times where it didn't quite engage as well as it could or should. I will say however, that the developers may well learn from this and perhaps their next project may offer something more.