Release Date: February 20th 2018
Price as of Article: $9.99 USD, £8.99 GBP
Old Man’s Journey Nintendo Switch Review
Old man’s Journey is a story told through a visual narrative, there is not a word spoken throughout the whole game but the developers have done a fantastic job in how they tell the story through the use of flashbacks and just by traversing the landscapes. The story begins when you receive a mail from the postman and off you go. This is a story about life and the choices we make sometimes for reasons you or I may not understand. I don’t want to give anything away here other than to say I enjoyed the story but by the end, I personally had mixed feelings about the protagonist. Could I have done what he did? Not a chance. How you feel about the choices he made in his life by the end, I believe will be different for everybody and that’s most probably the point! It makes you think about how many people in this world just don’t do whats important and you will know what I mean if you decide to ply this.
It’s an emotional journey and there are times the game pulls at your heartstrings in ways other games just don’t manage. This is a very different way of telling the story compared to say A Night in the woods where it’s a lot more dialogue heavy.
The audio was created by SCMTFC which is the stage name for Andrew Rohrmann who also created the soundtrack for Oxenfree and has worked on shows such as Mr Robot. He has composed music here which fits right into the style of this game and is perfect for those emotional moments which there are quite a few of. The sound effects are also all very good to the ringing of a town bell to the sounds the waves make when they crash against the mountains.
Visuals and Performance
Visually is where the game is very strong, whimsical landscapes which are hand drawn look stunning and the colours used to make each place seem like a painting. The still drawings used in the flashbacks are each fantastic too look at and really depict the emotion of what’s happening in those scenes. The expressions of the old man with the frame by frame animation bring home what the character is feeling at every moment and it’s like your on this journey with him. I think my favourite scene was when I reached a cliff edge and saw all the hot air balloons taking off in the blue sky with the sea below. It really is a beautiful game. I also really loved how the villages were drawn. There were no performance issues that I came across in my play through.
From a gameplay point of view, well there isn’t too much of it here, in all honesty, the puzzles are very simple to solve and involve moving the landscapes so they all line up so that you can get to where you need to go and as you reach each new point, you will encounter a flashback and move on. Some parts of the game require you moving sheep out the way so you can get past them or using wooden wheels to break down walls and other than that there isn’t much else to do which is why I would call this more of an interactive movie and if you go in expecting that then you won’t be disappointed. Like a good film by the end it will make you reflect on the experience. As a challenge, it’s not going to challenge you and everyone who plays this will complete it in 2 hours without too many problems.
In terms of controls, you can use the touchscreen to point where you want the character to go and move the landscapes around and in this respect, it works well if you play in docked mode using your controller to move the cursor about is all simple enough. There are a few finicky moments but they are pretty much few and far between.
There are a few parts where you will traverse the landscape in a vehicle and will have to move the landscapes while moving which is pretty fun and a nice distraction.
The game is $9,99 or £8,99 in the Uk and for that, you get a 2-hour experience and one that ultimately has no replay value. On Switch it’s also double the price than it is on mobile devices as you can pick the game up in the Apple store on Google play for half the price it’s selling for on Switch. It’s also cheaper on Steam, granted you would not get the portability.
While the game works great on Switch and having it on a big TV is nice, using physical buttons or even playing two player it does not offer any significant advantages to warrant the higher price in my view. You will still get a great experience if you play it on mobile device either way. If the Switch is where you have to play this game then be prepared to pay extra for it.
As a game it's not much of a challenge
short and twice as expensive as on mobile platforms
No replay value at all