Old Man’s Journey

OMJ

Hey, I’m Jade, Sean’s other half.

Unavoidably, when the love of your life’s life-long love is video games, you pick a few things up. I’ve always gamed, from Pokemon Silver on Game Boy Colour through to today’s obsession with my Nintendo Switch, but I’ve never really considered writing about gaming before. Currently, I’m almost exclusively interested in the aforementioned Switch and I love it so much I’m willing to give any game a go. As I’m making my way through the library of ‘Nindies’ (Nintendo’s indie game offerings), Sean asked me to pop some of my thoughts & recommendations on this blog from time-to-time, as our taste in games rarely overlaps.

Most recently I completed Old Man’s Journey – a puzzle adventure game. I’ll start by saying I typically hate puzzle games (because I have no patience), but I was sucked in by the art style (as always…).

In Old Man’s Journey, you play as… well, an Old Man… travelling to make amends with his wife and daughter. One morning you wake up to a letter in your mailbox and set off with your backpack through beautiful, rolling country side. As you complete various puzzles throughout the game, you unlock beautifully-drawn flashbacks. You see the Old Man’s early courtship with his wife, his naval career, the birth of his daughter… and some sadder memories too.

My resistance to puzzle games made this a frustrating play-through for me at times. The puzzles consist of moving the old man through various landscapes, dragging hill tops up or down, herding sheep and steering trains so he can move onto the next section of his journey. At times, these mechanics felt repetitive and instead of persevering with the more challenging puzzles, I resorted to looking a few up on YouTube.

Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed each of the hand-drawn landscapes I crossed. The art style is gorgeous, with a warm palette and soothing animations – think waterfalls, hot air balloons and sail boats.

I won’t give away the ending of Old Man’s Journey but I had expected to find the game more touching than I did. As each of the flash-backs was revealed, I could tell that the game was building towards an emotional conclusion but after working through each puzzle to get to the final cut scene, I felt the game ended somewhat abruptly. For me, this detracted from the message of the story. I didn’t have time to process the story the game had laid out for me and without having really engaged with the gameplay, my final thoughts on Old Man’s Journey were… it’s just OK.

If you’re into puzzle games and looking for a relaxing weekend play that you can complete in a few hours, give this is a shot. If you’re looking for a storyline that leaves a lasting impression though, I’d steer you in the direction of my other recent completions, Night in the Woods or the mobile game Florence.

If you enjoyed my ramblings, I’ll be back the next time I complete a Nindie title or you can find me in my own corner of the internet, Here Goes Nothing.

Best wishes y’all.

Jade

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