Critical Play: Walking Simulators | Journey


I played Journey after purchasing the game through Steam. My best guess is that this game is intended for people who frequently play video games, and would be willing to try something new if it was well designed.

Formal Elements


In the game, you play as a cloaked figure that is exploring a desert wasteland. This is a single player game, but you do casually interact with other NPCs over the course of the game.


As far as I can tell, the objective of the game is to explore the terrain. Occasionally, flying ribbons or another character will guide you towards objectives–usually using a chime to restore an old ribbon. There are levels in the game, and you finish them by exploring. It seems as though the overarching goal is to reach the mountain with light coming out of it.


Interacting with the flying ribbons charges up a jump powerup. Once activated, this powerup lets the character fly high and then glide.


There are challenges on each level that prevent your character from progressing. In the early game, this is mostly related to not knowing what you’re doing. However, later on, it becomes slightly more skill related, but still not too difficult.


I need to continue playing the game to get a better sense of the outcome. Once new information is unlocked, you learn a little more about the preceding world.

Type of Fun

The allure of Journey is that it is so satisfying to put together the clues. Additionally, it is very pleasant to just walk around the world.

Moments of Failure and Success


  • The first time my character flew was amazing. I did not know it was possible and it was magical.
  • The first time the other character showed up was also so cool! At first I was worried I would have to fight them, but then it became clear that they were there to help.
  • The art style in the game was pretty awesome.


  • I spent a log time at the beginning of the game running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I had no sense of direction or what I was supposed to be doing. Not necessarily bad, but I did feel a little dumb.

Potential Improvements

It is hard to say anything that I would improve because the game is award winning and very polished. I suppose more of a tutorial at the beginning would have onboarded me faster. However, having a tutorial kind of violates the spirit of exploration that is so integral to this game.

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