Old Man’s journey is a point and click exploration game which follows an Old Man as he revisits locations he’s previously visited and the half-forgotten memories which are paired with them.
The game’s point and click system is tricky to get used to but allows a level of immersion once you have progressed past the Old Man’s house and the initial start point of the game. In order to start the Old Man’s Journey the player must click the ground opposed to moving the character with an analogue stick. At first this motion feels clunky and unnatural but paired with the innovative ability to rise and lower backdrops simply by grabbing the background and altering its position against the horizon, it works well.
The narrative of Old Man’s Journey is one of heartfelt simplicity. As the Old Man revisits landmarks from his life he recounts fond memories from his life. These flashbacks slowly tell the life story of the Old Man and to unlock them the player must interact with the environment, exposing a certain sound, smell or landmark will suddenly transport him back to happier times. These beautiful watercolour washes of loving remembrances are vibrant and strong, as if the past has frozen these moments in time. However, as the tale progresses a hint of sadness emerges, the sky becomes a little darker, soft welcoming music takes on a more hesitant and mellow tone and it becomes apparent that this Old Man’s life was not as perfect as it first seemed.
As well as memories there are multiple objects for the player to interact with. Most of these consist of puzzles which upon completion allow the Old Man to pick up his backpack and continue walking. As well as altering the levels of the land players can drag items such as boats to the Old Man who can’t reach them on his own. These interactions feel pleasing as from admiring the environment it’s not abundantly clear that you can move these objects. As the story moves from the quirky colourful village to vast open fields and rocky outcrops other obstacles announce themselves. Sheep need to be directed with a controller sweep in the direction you need them to relocate too. This element adds a level of challenge to the game but isn’t so frustrating that it sends players away shaking their heads in despair.
As mentioned the game heavily plays on visual clues to tell the story and the visuals are stunning. The simplistic styling of both the environment and the characters is something which adds a tone of relaxation to gameplay and allows the player to immerse themselves in this quaint town. Dominant colours add a realistic depth of field in the environment, even if the stylings of the game are cartoonish. It’s a very easy game to look at which allows you to easily stroll the streets of the quirky towns, the crowded harbours and even the empty spaces which colour fields and hills.
In short, Old Man’s Journey is a pleasant meander through an old man’s life and the town he lives in. It’s a masterclass in visual storytelling one which draws out emotion from every player. This touching tale is a path that deserves to be trodden by all gamers.