This is the first time that I will be reviewing a game for the Nintendo Switch. I wanted to review an indie game that had some depth – a game that looked wonderful and played like no other. I may have found exactly what I was looking for with Old Man’s Journey.

 

Story

The game begins with your character, the titular Old Man, receiving a letter. He leaves his cliffside home in a hurry. That is when the adventure stops and the story sort of starts. You begin to see images from his past. These are the events that have lead up to his seemingly greatest regret. With some games that I review I feel like revealing the whole story ruins the experience for someone else. This is a game that falls into that category. During the brief journey, you start to see the wrong choices that this Old Man made, the life he gave up. It was a deep, tragic experience. However, the ending was well worth the time spent with this game. I felt better playing this to the end then I did when I got to the end of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

Gameplay

I usually save the gameplay for the end of the review. In this game you control every detail that would stop the Old Man from continuing his journey. From the cat that stands in his way to the train tracks that need to be lined up so he can proceed. When you’re playing this game, your goal is to move the landscape to allow the Old Man to walk a certain path. If you think you have it and a question mark pops up over his head, you did something wrong.

Making a path for the Old Man to follow is the only gameplay mechanic that really matters. Now when I say that, I mean you can interact with just about everything. You can make the power lines move, doors open, and trees sway in the wind. You do all this with a small hand that allows you to grab different objects within the game. The most enjoyable part was trying to keep the train moving and then having to let it crash. Actually, it doesn’t crash which I thought that it might when I missed a track. You are not meant to die at all. The onlyy big problem I had was how annoying it became to deal with the sheep in the game. Doing the same thing with them over and over really was really tiresome.

Sit back and experience the journey of regret that this man’s life; it is the theme for this game. One thing that I didn’t do for my full playthough was use the Joy-Cons separately for local co-op. I did go back and try it though. I loved how you have to work together with a friend to get through those levels. It made the gameplay even better.

Graphics

The game features some wonderful environments that are a part of your journey. These vibrant water colored hills, homes that have so much life in them, and swaying tree. The thing about this game is that you’re just a nameless hand controlling the world around the Old Man. You can interact with everything you see from the sunken ships to the cat climbing on top of the house. This is one of the best games to look at this year. The hand drawn artwork has so much detail in the buildings and areas with people that you may need to take a few minutes to just enjoy the sights. The simple way to save your game progress and exit doesn’t take away from the experience. They just don’t clutter the screen when you need a break. It was nice to see the care taken in the development of the graphics for this game. I’m hoping for more from Broken Rules.

Audio

The music for this game is stunning to say the least. In some moments you may just feel so relaxed with the early Banjo playing and the wind gently blowing through the trees. In the background you can hear the waves of the ocean and the birds calling out. The fact that not one sound overpowers another audio track is amazing. I always say that audio in a game is one of the most important factors for me. The experience you may have is something personal and it could be emotional. In this game, as it progressed, the music started to get me a little tight in the stomach and a little sad. To sit back and think about the story and make music that actually gets you emotionally involved is perfect.

Verdict

I didn’t really know what to expect when I first saw this game in the “Coming Soon” section of the eShop. I just knew that I was going to buy it and review it. The cost was $9.99 and I figured I’ve spent more money on some bad games. I’m so happy that I went and spent the money on this game. The emotional story, amazing sounds, and fantastic world will keep me coming back when I need to relax. I can just sit and let the music play as I listen to the rest of the game. I would really love for others to check this game out, I understand that not everyone will want to play this game. It really felt like it was for a more adult audience. Thank you, Broken Rules, for bringing this game to the Nintendo Switch.