Capsule Review: The Journey Of Me

A fifteen-minute or so 2D platformer that makes heavy use of option restriction and then extensively berates the player for playing the game in the only way available.

Like some other games, it deliberately invokes common game tropes and then subverts the player’s expectations of them. In this case, the gimmick is that the player character doesn’t want you to play the game. He’s happy hanging out in his castle until the player forces him outside onto an adventure he doesn’t want. Things escalate when the player starts killing innocent creatures that just happen to be in the way, and it gets worse from there.

Unfortunately, the game’s message ends up being incoherent. This is primarily because the player character repeatedly chastises the player when it’s actually the designer who is far more at fault. It’s not remotely fair to call the player a monster by the standards of normal logic and ethics when the game world is set up in an illogical and unethical way - coins float in midair, “enemies” path back and forth mindlessly blocking your progress, your character carries a huge sword and has the ability to place unlimited bombs. There are even signs indicating which numbered “Act” and “Part” of the game you have progressed to, which the player character doesn’t remember seeing before. The world is shaped deliberately in a way that only allows the player to do things which the player character finds horrific, but still the player character reserves all of his hate for the player instead of the designer. The game doesn’t play the twist for laughs, it doesn’t lead to a reveal of an alternate way to play, it doesn’t attack the application of game tropes to inappropriately realistic settings - it just gives the player only one literally signposted path and then spews vitriol at them for following it.

To be fair, it’s just a polished-up class project and it’s available for free. But it gets old listening to what a monster you are because you did the only thing the designer allowed you to do, and since the player character eventually chooses to stop responding to the player’s inputs there’s an open question of why he didn’t do that from the beginning. (Also, the game does a poor job telling you that you can double-jump, which is essential for getting past one chokepoint.) All in all, the core idea is something that can be explored in interesting ways, and has been in other games, but isn’t here.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game. It was short enough that I saw it through.

Docprof's Rating:

One Star: Not for me. While there might be someone out there who'd enjoy this game, I was actively repulsed by it or just found nothing to latch on to.

You can get it or learn more here.