ThatGameCompany’s Journey is a game that I had heard a whole ton of positive things about but I never got the chance to play it when it was originally released in 2012 on the PS3. Now that Tricky Pixels has ported the game to Sony’s latest platform and it is included in the 2015 Summer Play Sale now feels like the perfect time for me to take a Journey.
Journey is a third person “experience game” that tasks the player with the goal of traversing through a large desert to reach the peak of a mountain as a hooded figure in a red cloak. This simple task is made more complicated by the fact that the decaying ruins of a long dead civilization stand in your way to reaching your destination. It is hard to put into words what genre really defines but the heart of the gameplay is just as much about traversing the wonderful desert environments through traditional platforming, finding hidden collectables as it is about just soaking in the ambience of the environments. There’s nothing really quite like it on any other platform.
While exploring the sweeping deserts, decaying ruins and many other varied environments Journey does give you a unique jumping mechanic tied to the length of the player’s scarf which flows behind the player while running through the sandscapes. What sets Journey’s platforming apart from other indie platformers is that the height of your jump is limited to the length of the player’s scarf –players will find themselves looking for the glowing collectables in order to complete Journey’s many different levels. Other levels within Journey will have riding on sentient ribbon creatures which the game uses to guide players from one platforming section to each other.
Just as impressive as the game’s visuals is the communication system which allows players to send out a “ping” by pressing a single button. These pings are used to activate the living ribbons, which will also replenish the player’s jumping ability, but can also be used to show other players in your game the location of hidden secrets. At the core of Journey’s emotional message – allowing players to communicate with each other without saying a single word – it is simple and very effective. During my brief time with Journey I came across 5 other players (or one per level). Journey sets out to explore simplistic forms of communication and it does this absolutely effortlessly.
My review of Journey might seem a little sparse and lacking detail – that isn’t to say that during my three hours with Journey that I wasn’t impacted – I simply don’t want to give away any of the more emotional moments that touched me towards the end. If you haven’t went on your own Journey I highly advise that you do so – Grab a friend, plop yourself down on the couch and enjoy one of the most unique games of the last generation now available on a current generation console.