Critical Play: Year Walk
Game: Year Walk
- Age Range: 12+
- Anyone who likes puzzles
- Affinity to scary illustrations & mystery
Formal Elements of Game:
Players: Single Player vs. Game
Objective: Complete all the puzzles & unlock the secrets of the future (Explanatory)
Outcomes: As the player cannot die in this game, there are two outcomes:
- The player solves the series of puzzles and wins the game.
- The player is stuck at a puzzle and gives up
Resources: To solve puzzles, the player must note and interpret clues, which they can do by moving freely and interacting through with the story world.
Rules & Procedures: As the game is 2D and on a mobile device, the mobility of the player is limited; by swiping, panning, and zooming on the screen, the player can move forward, backward, leftward, and rightward.
Boundaries: The virtual environment on the phone screen
Types of Fun:
- Challenge: The puzzles are challenging and diverse, requiring the player to think creatively and remember different clues and patterns that they come across. For me, an added component of challenge (intentional or not) is the fact that it is hard to navigate the map, so it difficult to go back and forth between areas.
- Narrative: While there is narrative application that drives and connects the puzzles and clues, I personally found the narrative confusing, which may speak more to my lack of background of knowledge and Swedish Folklore.
- Discovery: While I found the walking, self-discovery mechanism fun at first, it soon become tiresome. As not all places of the world hold clues, I often got bored looking for the next puzzle and would quickly get irritated/bored aimlessly walking in circles.
Moments of success or epic fails:
- Epic Success: The audio and visual design of the game is incredibly well-done and thought-out; both compelled me to keep playing the game!
- Epic Fail: After starting the game, I expected the game to be a cut-screen. It took me a couple of minutes to realize that I was expected to explore the map myself and even then, I did not find the navigation intuitive and often got lost. I would have appreciated more guidance/direction in terms of navigation and the game’s objective from the start.
Things you would change to make the game better:
- Elaborate on Narrative: As I hinted earlier, I found the narrative to be a little confusing and wish it would be more immersive!
- Access to Past Clues: I would often have to revisit past locations because I forgot a past clue that I previously uncovered, especially because I did not play this game in one sitting. Going back to past clues was particularly frustrating at times and I would have appreciated a mechanism that kept track of all the past clues that the player has uncovered.