A short but bittersweet journey left open for some soul searching.
Sometimes you find yourself with games that are truly hard to evaluate. Not because they aren't good, but even saying too much will spoil the experience. That is the pickle I found myself in with Old Man's Journey. Broken Rules' latest journey, which previously arrived on mobile platforms, sees you observing the world in true puzzle game fashion. After two hours, it is all over with things left to be desired.
The story is where Old Man's Journey truly shines through. An old man receives a mysterious letter in the mail and sets off for a journey. The plot is about finding out who sent the letter and why the man is so obsessed over it. This makes him think of both the past and present in ways that are truly surprising. More impressive is how the entire story isn't told with words, but with striking imagery that struck a cord with me. The emotions that come from it feel real and raw.
As a game, this is a 2D puzzling journey. A cursor is used to create paths for the old man to follow. A lot of landscaping and anticipating are in play here, and the game really tests your patience. The puzzles are never overly difficult as getting a real sense can be gotten within seconds. Towards the end, more curves are thrown into the mix, but in the end interaction was kept a bit minimal.
During its two hour span, I found myself mostly playing it on the Nintendo Switch's touchscreen. Sure, this can be played docked and works decently, but I became more used to its mobile roots. Old Man's Journey looks absolutely stunning. The game offers detailed visuals with a nicely drawn look, stitched together with a wonderful soundtrack that deserves a pair of headphones to appreciate.
All in all, I can't help but wanting more out of Old Man's Journey, which clashes with the game's point. It is a narrative-driven experience that ends when it needs to and doesn't leave any questions unanswered. That being said, the interaction isn't overly grand. Some puzzles are found along the way, but finding the gentleman's true purpose is what the journey is truly about. If it clicks with you, you will likely walk with the same appreciation I did. The message is truly wonderful, and that left me a little satisfied at the very least.