Journey

Good
  • Become part of the journey of other players while you craft your own
  • A masterpiece of artistic game design with gripping visual and audio design that has a simple underlying premise
Bad
  • A short overall experience for the cost which features a basic repetitive core loop that most gamers won't undertaken more than once
8.5

Originally a PlayStation exclusive title Journey is a mysterious, moving and impressive video game that has a relaxing effect on players as they explore the endless sand dunes and ruins of the game world. Playing as a robed figure in the vast desert sands you’ll strive to reach the mountain far off in the distance while encountering other players on the same journey without a single piece of dialogue. Players can communicate with subtle chimes and their names are also completely hidden from each other to maintain immersion until you reach the end credits where you can see the names of those that helped you on your own journey.

journey-gameplay-scarf

As the name implies the game is all about the journey with a reasonable amount of story woven into this adventure which is all told without the use of words and instead relies on the things you discover through gameplay and a number of simple game cutscenes. Players start this Journey adventure surrounded by sand dunes which gives the impression of a far reaching desert in all directions and designed to make players feel small in a large expansion world. You’re only clue as to the direction you must head is the looming mountain in the distance that almost calls to players towards it with its glow.

Playing as this robed figure you head in the direction of this mysterious mountain at which point the sand begins to wash away and leaves you with pieces to the story behind the world such as the remnants of a clearly once thriving civilization. With each new remnant you find you’ll discover stones that give players a glimpse of a robed white figure in a painted room that features the rise and fall of the civilization you’re slowly discovering with each step forward. All throughout this adventure you’ll experience a dynamic soundtrack that matches the actions and pacing you undertake to help build that sense of your own personal journey.

journey-gameplay-ruins

Journey gameplay is fairly minimal with players able to control their characters direction, perform a jump or emit a short sound that has a visual and audio indicator. This short sound is also key to interacting with the game world which may reveal bridges or new paths for the player to continue on.

Players can also expand the length of their scarf throughout the game that gives you an additional sense of change through the story and is charged through a number of methods such as being near other players or floating near various pieces of red cloth before discharging it to briefly fly. The most notable gameplay element though is the way players will temporarily appear in each others game, potentially giving clues or simply a travel companion.

journey-gameplay-glow

While mostly a relaxing journey you will need to employ some avoidance as in addition to this discovery players will occasionally encounter ancient automations that still roam the desolate land seeking intruders and will cut your accumulated scarf. Eventually players will reach the mountain which hides a large city at its base where your journey reaches its climatic end. Journey is indeed a mesmerising experience albeit a short one that you can complete in under 5 hours although still worth experiencing especially if you have an appreciation for the artistic side of game design.

Summary:

  • A wordless adventure through the sand dunes of a lost civilisation as you approach the mountain in the distance.
  • Join other players as you adventure together or split off into your own journey.
  • Grow your scarf over time with exploration and connecting with other players which allies you to expend it on short bursts of flight.
  • Originally a PlayStation exclusive game now available on other platforms.
  • Just under 5hrs of potential exploration and satisfying audio-visual experience.

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Review Platform: PS4

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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