Not all puzzle platformers need to challenge you, some can be bite-sized, mellow, immersive adventures that take you on a journey– Voyage from Swedish indie studio Venturous is just that. What initially captured my gaze was the lovingly hand painted art style of this aptly self-described cinematic adventure and though this game surely won’t be everyone’s jam, I enjoyed the spread overall.
Voyage is a game devoid of dialogue and combat but manages to fill that chasm with a living and inviting world set across multiple biomes. You play as two stranded explorers searching for a way home. Throughout the game, you must solve simple puzzles either alone or with another player by interacting with the environment to move objects or open doors. While the puzzles at times may seem simplistic or lacking in depth, that design choice seems intentional. It allows you to be absorbed into the atmosphere of the world, letting the melodies sweep you through the luscious lands of each area of the planet.
Without text or dialogue to push a narrative, the story sprinkled throughout Voyage is told through it’s environment. There are a few murals throughout the adventure that shed some light on the world you are exploring, but aside from that it is up to the player to gleam meaning from what’s happening by interpreting the world around them as they continue to search for a way home. I didn’t pull too much from the world in regards to a deeper story, but instead enjoyed being wrapped up in a vague mystery of what exactly is happening, what the other beings are that inhabit the planet, and where the two stranded protagonists are heading off to. At times, the movement and pace of Voyage can feel slow and for better or worse, I think that is intentional. Allowing the player to engage with the world, not necessarily with gameplay but by becoming bewitched by the brushstrokes of the backdrops and nodding along to the tantalizing tunes all while searching for meaning in the world.
Voyage is not a game I would recommend to everyone, as I do not think this type of experience is tailored for all, but if you are looking for a quick trip catered around mesmerizing music and alluring artwork than you might be as delighted as I was to take this journey. Sometimes it’s not about the destination, but about the voyage.
We reviewed Voyage with a code provided by the publisher on Xbox Series X. Voyage is available now on Steam and releases on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch on August 12th, 2022.
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