Ratalaika Games have increasingly made bolder choices with the indie games they port to console and I’ve been enjoying their choices more and more over the last two years. Voyage is their latest port of an absolutely beautiful 2D co-op adventure. Whilst it lacks any real difficulty and feels closer to a walking simulator than an adventure game, its charm won me over anyway.
Voyage can be played in both single player and co-op mode as you control a brother and sister duo voyaging across an empty planet. Voyage handles the single player experience expertly with the AI controlling the second character and giving the player the option to turn on or off their ability to follow you with a simple button command. You can also switch between characters with another button and between these two commands, Voyage a dream to play solo. Other games could learn from this implementation.
Your duo walk, often slowly, through some stunning locations that are full of environmental story telling. You’ll need a keen eye for detail as you’ll be pushing and pulling stones, gems and statue rocks to create platforms to climb around these beautiful backdrops. Voyage looks like an artistically low frame rate anime, glowing in a golden sunset. Press the hug button and you’ll have Ghibli feels. The way one character lowers an arm to pull the other up is just wholesome, they are a lovely sibling duo. Adding to the Spirited Away vibes are two things. Firstly, the amazing orchestral soundtrack that straddles real symphony and etheric otherworldly qualities. There’s no big themes, it just adds a layer of atmosphere. Secondly, the story of Voyage plays out in two layers. Alongside your journey, see-through ghostly imprints of the worlds inhabitants are wandering around doing their thing. Your watching civilization leave as you explore and its a lovely, spooky but cute touch.
So far, its all positive but the gameplay will divide opinion hugely. The vast majority of this short, 100 minute experience is spent walking to the right or dragging a block back and forth to climb up higher. Except for the very last area, this is the single trick to gameplay pony and all the last area adds is a few door switches that are slightly out of sync to work out the order to press. There is no difficulty here at all and no change of gameplay or pace. This felt like Ico The Walking Simulator Anime Edition, and I’m fine with that. Others perhaps less enamoured with environmental story telling and basking in an atmosphere will grow tired of its slow movement and repetitive nature. Voyage’s brevity is a strength because every 7 minutes, you are somewhere totally new. It’s just you do the exact same thing.
If you are a gamer that prefers stylish, wholesome and easy games, then Voyage is a must play. For the rest, I think the trailer and gameplay shown in my video review will really help you come off the fence and say either “that’s too slow and basic” or “ooh I want walk in this animation”.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Beautiful but extremely simple co-op adventure that has style in spades.
Looks absolutely stunning in freeze frame and in motion.
Genuinely wholesome vibes throughout from story to interaction.
Extremely simple gameplay mechanics that never develop.
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