Arise: A Simple Story – Definitive Edition Review (Switch eShop)

Is platforming a good medium for telling a harrowing tragedy? When tears fall on joysticks, is it appropriate to say “Now jump back and forth”? It is difficult to understand how it would not be insensitive, after a heartbreaking misfortune, to intervene, “Cheer up! Hop on your grappling hook over this lava pit. In Arise: A Simple Story, developer Piccolo took on this seemingly intractable problem and came up with a very simple solution.

Arise, released on PC and consoles in 2019, is a story told without words. However, it bucks the trend of a vague, and therefore deep story, and ensures straight-forward plot and character development. It’s based around visual art and music on thematic levels, some static illustrations, short cutscenes and, not expecting it to tell a whole story on its own, platform gameplay with time control mechanics.

After opening with his funeral pyre in the game, you stand off the ground as a burly, fur-clad snow dweller and revisit scenes from his life. He shows remarkable understanding in portraying life’s difficulties. You move around the world using jumping, climbing and grappling. Meanwhile, the right joystick scrolls forward and backward a fixed amount of time for each section. A wide variety of applications for this mechanic is explored in the 10 levels of the game. Sometimes whole seasons change, snow freezes and melts to open the way forward; sometimes it’s only seconds to catch lightning or a falling boulder. The stages get more and more fantastic as the story reaches an emotional peak, allowing the visual design to take off.

Piccolo had to find a balance between just walking to make the story happen and constant failures or dead ends. The studio has threaded the needle. The level design requires you to be fully involved in figuring out your path, but it’s easy to reveal your requirements while you’re involved.

The feel of the game is heavy and slow – not always out of place. Player character animations are long, momentum almost flicks the joystick at times, and time shifting can be a blind fumble, unsure if you’ve gone too far or not far enough. The camera is controlled only by a vertical tilt, since the time slider is tied to the left-right. This inclination is flaccid and limited; we rarely used it and it was not a problem. The much-touted gyroscope controls for the Switch are just a novelty. Tilt the controller to move time is an even more nebulous task than with a joystick, and completely impractical in handheld mode. Co-op allows P2 to manage time while you run and jump – easy yet effective.

With great art and music throughout, a couple of technical flaws are annoying. The audio would break and crackle briefly during our playthrough, and in most cases completing a level would cause the enveloping orchestral sounds of its climax to abruptly cut off to the silence of a blue loading screen. There are some frame drops and lazy loading of resources, but they are rarely intrusive.

Arise: A Simple Story tells the story like a video game, but doesn’t overemphasize the role of gameplay. The inventive level design pushes forward, but faced with the awkward task of jumping off a platform after an emotional bombshell, he just lets the musical and visual storytelling take its course. It’s just a simple story, but well told.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button