Some games will require you to have nimble ninja-like skills, twisting and turning your enemies with a gun in one hand and some magic buffs in another. Other titles require pinpoint accuracy, as you hit corner apexes at 130mph. More still deliver the need to solve complex puzzles and oblique inventory management problems. But some games, games like Drizzlepath: Deja Vu, will require you to just walk.
The so-called ‘walking simulator’ or, how they like to be referred to, narrative adventures, fill out an extremely popular genre. But there are many gamers that frown upon the lack of gameplay and innovation that is found within, mentioning a lack of value. Personally, I love a relaxing walk around a gaming world. Shall we stroll together with Drizzlepath: Deja Vu?
Drizzlepath sees you travelling through a beautiful and mysterious landscape, one full of wonder and the unreal. There are huge statues of archers present, and what seems to be humans in torment and pain. Abandoned buildings sit across the landscape hinting at a world that once lived there. Sometimes a resident of the world will appear and close a door on you, or will run away into the distance. The story isn’t delivered so much on a linear narrative, but rather as a collection of musings and antidotes about life and the journey of being here in this world. Now and again, fragments of text will be triggered with a pleasant voice-over. This could be connected to what you just experienced or something more abstract about the state of being.
I like this way of storytelling as it puts the onus on the player to interpret what the game means or what it is attempting to convey. The writing in Drizzlepath: Deja Vu is good too, even though it sometimes becomes too fragmented in its tone and can feel like it runs a fortune cookie philosophy at times. But perhaps that’s me being a bit harsh.
The game starts with you under the water, being told to wake up. It’s here where you emerge from the liquid, before playing through the whole game in the first person. Who you are and what your purpose is is never made clear, but that doesn’t matter. Instead you are left to walk through things at a slow leisurely pace. Yes there’s a run option, but Drizzlepath on the whole is delivered fairly leisurely. What there is though is an option to just-auto walk, so you don’t have to put in any of the effort if you don’t want to.
That’s pretty much it in terms of gameplay and if you’re used to walking simulator types of games then you will know what to expect here. It comes from Tonguç Bodur and it was their last game – Lucid Cycle – which played a lot more with convention, adding in puzzle elements to provide variety in the gameplay. Drizzlepath is however a game where you just move slowly forward for an hour. I don’t mind this, but I am a fan of the genre. Others might just have a problem with those limitations.
Drizzlepath’s game world is beautiful at times, full of long-distance skylines and gorgeous drops of nature. But the game also mixes the real and the unusual together, where some of the environments become dreamlike; almost nightmare inducing. It’s still a great environment to spend some time in and Bodur is starting to make a name for these types of games. I really like the world-building and admire the journey they want the player to experience through this imagination.
The soundscore is good at times, with some great atmospheric vibes to go along with your walk through the world. But there are strange moments when it cuts out and goes silent. It also doesn’t feel fully committed to the actions of the game at times, but rather just playing out on a random playlist. That atmosphere is broken by the voice-over that comes with the sporadic text every now and then; this is good but doesn’t take away from the feeling like you’re just listening to a meditation tape.
For the hour it runs, Drizzlepath: Deja Vu is enjoyable. It does nothing to test you gameplay-wise, and fails to provoke any deep meaning in what is trying to be said. But I do believe these games are important to have – narrative adventures that blend exploration and artistic vision. It’s good that it comes in at a decent price and when you include the very quick Gamerscore that is on offer, could well be one to consider.
Drizzlepath: Deja Vu can be nabbed from the Xbox Store