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Review: Old Man's Journey (PC)By Adam Riley At 13.03.2018 00:36

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Old Man's Journey offers up 15 different settings to work through, with the mouse pointer being used to manipulate the landscapes during the titular old man's journey, interacting with various objects either to merely get a special reaction, or to actually aid with progression. Sadly, the 15 areas are not particularly lengthy in nature, and most gamers will be able to breeze through to the end credits within an hour or so, even when taking things slowly. This is indeed a very bite-sized affair that could have been fleshed out considerably, but instead a product that, ultimately, shows its mobile origins in terms of its brevity and simplistic nature.

That is not to say there is no fun to be had - far from it, since this can be quite charming at times. The main concept is to lift or lower different parts of the landscape to create connections for the old chap to saunter across and then leap from one place to another, before moving to the next scene. Quite the spritely elder he is, to be honest, belying the walking stick in his possession! Terrain currently stood on cannot be adjusted, so careful shunting around is required to lower and raise sections, sometimes tweaking to the left or right simultaneously, in order to progress smoothly, and moving him back and forth to get the correct result and 'solve' the current 'puzzle.' Then there are on-rails parts that involve swiftly shifting railway tracks or roadways and bridges to prevent the Old Man's Journey from being impeded. They are not majorly taxing, but do add a nice aside to the escapade.

Broken Rules, the team that brought the sublime And Yet It Moves to WiiWare many moons ago (seriously, this needs to come to Switch!), does indeed try to spice up the action here, but for PC and consoles, the former iOS and Android experience really did need more meat adding before release, as it fails to quite match the desired audience in terms of satisfactory content.

Sometimes windows can be opened/shut just for fun, or people can be helped with tasks they are working on to help clear a path, and sheep even need to be ushered from one patch of grass to the other so the doddering gent can tootle past…yet, none of it adds enough weight to the overall journey to really grab the attention for too long, or leave a lasting memory. Everything finishes too quickly.

The puzzle element is great, to be fair, and finding the right waterfalls to slide down to reach previously unreachable areas, or creating ramps to roll things down to smash through walls, all do engage, whilst not straining the old grey matter too much. There is definitely potential here to expand in a future sequel, but for now it is just a pleasant - far too brief - excursion with a serene soundtrack, luscious visuals, and an intriguing puzzle element that needed a bit more oomph to make it extra special.

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Final Score
[i]Old Man's Journey[/i] is such a gorgeous looking title, complete with a beautiful soundtrack. Those aspects are then draped over a moderately engaging puzzle idea, and comes with a story that aims to be touching, but will leave many feeling either apathetic to the theme, or actually frustrated by the progression of the old man's life and foolish choices. It also ends extremely quickly with nothing to come back to after. It will pass and fade away quicker than it should, but deserves to receive an expanded sequel (or prequel, perhaps?).



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