Old Man’s Journey
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Old Man’s Journey is a short casual game with beautiful visuals, emotional story that is told without a single word and very laid back soundtrack. It may be a little too simple for some people’s taste, but if you are looking for something that can be completed in one sitting and won’t tax you too much, then don’t overlook Old Man’s Journey.

Gameplay: The puzzles are very simple, but still enjoyable.

Graphics: Each scene in this game is a work of art.

Sound: No speech, but the soundtrack is great

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
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Old Man’s Journey

Developer: Broken Rules | Publisher: Broken Rules | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Action / Casual / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

From the ripped paper look of And Yet It Moves to the triangle-based art style of Secrets of Rætikon, there is no denying that Broken Rules know how to make unique looking games. Their latest title, Old Man’s Journey, sports yet another gorgeous art direction, but it is definitely not a case of art over gameplay either. Instead, what we have is a beautiful looking game that has a very relaxed atmosphere while also throwing a couple of casual puzzles your way. Some players might scoff at the simplicity of these puzzles, but they definitely fit the mood of the game and serve to gently guide you on your journey.

Old Man’s Journey opens with the protagonist, who is an old man obviously, receiving a letter from the postman. The contents of this letter is never revealed, but judging from his reaction, it is quite important. Wasting no time the old man rushes back into his house, rummages around for a bit and then emerges with a traveling backpack and walking stick. It is from this point that players take control of the old man and guide him on his epic journey to parts unknown.

The game is a casual puzzle adventure, so your only tasks is to ensure that the old man is able to continue on his way. This is done by shaping the landscape around him in order to keep the path forward accessible. Each scene has multiple layers consisting of hills, roads, roofs and so one, which you can move up or down in order to make them intersect at certain points. The catch is that you cannot manipulate the layer on which the old man is standing, which means you may have to move him back and forth between layers on certain screens before you can continue. Later on in the game you’ll encounter a couple of other obstacles, such as sheep that block his path and walls that need to be knocked down, but things never become too complicated. In addition to walking, the old man also sometimes boards boats, trains, trucks and even an air-balloon, some of which you have to assist by pushing, pulling or lining up tracks.

Most of your time in Old Man’s Journey will be spent just soaking in the beautiful visuals and imaginative landscapes. The game looks like a pastel painting that has been brought to life and it is one of very few titles where every single scene looks like something you could frame and hang on your wall. The hand drawn art style really gives Old Man’s Journey a lot of charm and since they are rendered in the native resolution of your monitor they will always look great. Each of the whimsical landscapes in the game is just bursting with color and detail, but since it has a very short playtime, we recommend slowing down and really soaking everything in. There are a lot of objects in each scene that you can click on to view some type of small animation, but none of them are essential to completing this game. This means that players can simply rush through the journey and miss a lot of the cool touches.

The soundtrack to Old Man’s Journey was handled by SCNTFC and really sounds brilliant. Right from the start the tunes are a joy to listen to and never once during the journey did we grow tired of hearing them. The sound effects are all crisp and clear, but don’t expect to hear any voice acting in this title. Instead, the game doesn’t feature any speech at all and the whole story is revealed through the imagery on your screen. At certain key points the old man will sit down for a breather on a bench or other spot, which will then trigger a memory vignette if you click on something interesting in his vicinity. These memory scenes are not interactive, but they look stunning and reveal how the old man met his wife when he was a sailor and how he yearned to return to the sea after settling down and starting a family. Players will begin to get an inkling of where the story is headed after a few of these vignettes, but the ending still packed a very emotional punch.

As much as we really enjoyed joining the old man on his journey, it has to be said that this is not going to be a game for everyone. The pace is very slow and the puzzles may just be too simple for players who like to be challenged. The emotional elements of the story might also not resonate with everyone, depending on what life experiences they have had. Then there is the fact that Old Man’s Journey is a very short and linear game that has no replay value. Finally, the controls can be a little finicky at times when trying to click and drag certain layers, which highlights the fact that the game was definitely made with touch screen mobile devices in mind.

However, despite all of these factors, we still enjoyed Old Man’s Journey a lot and the game captivated us enough that we completed it in one session. Overall, this is a game that is simple enough that anyone can enjoy the experience without getting stuck or frustrated, but this also means that players who dislike casual games will probably overlook it. It is definitely worth checking out, but be warned, this is the type of game that may make you yearn to travel yourself.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2+
  • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.8+
  • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
  • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
  • Storage: 2 GB available space

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