Critical Play: Walking Simulators

The Sailor’s Dream is developed by Simogo AB, and is available on the App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. I managed to play the game on my iPad.

The game is suitable for people 12 years and older, which is the age rating given on the App Store, and is aimed at satisfying players curiosity. It involves a Single Player vs Game interaction pattern by providing the player a peaceful narrative experience as the player explores the game space.

Walking in this game involves the player scrolling through to find locations to explore. All the locations are beautiful and dream-like, and the ambience created is of a peaceful and beautiful scenery. Music is also incorporated to contribute to the feel of a quiet, and serene seaside.

Artifacts in the landmarks gives clues about the game’s story, and as the player explores the locations of the game, more pieces of the story are revealed. The game therefore mainly employs Embedded Narrative in it’s storytelling. The main aim of the game is to collect the different pieces of the story, and create meaning that provides a Narrative Aesthetic to the player. The game is simple enough to avoid confusing the player, yet it requires spending ample time to piece the information together that is distributed among several landmarks hence the player is kept engaged.

The game’s use of music and how it blends with the scenery is key to it’s success. Each landmark has it’s own feel accompanied with it’s own music. In addition, the background music keeps playing even when the player is not actively playing the game. This provides a calm state to ensure the player doesn’t feel pressured to complete the story, but enjoys the process of exploring the scene to piece the story together. Tapping on specific items play different notes, and thus a player may create their own melodies in key with the game’s music, and hence are afforded an expression aesthetic.


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