Old Man's Journey ($4.99) by Broken Rules is a heartfelt puzzle adventure game that’s about life’s precious moments, broken dreams, and ever-changing plans. If you are looking for a game that is more about the experience and journey rather than gameplay and the final destination, then Old Man’s Journey is a game that you must get. It’s another touching tale that you’ll enjoy if you liked games such as Stay, Mum.
I’m approaching my birthday in a week, and as I get older, I can’t help but think about my life and what it has taught me so far. I’ve gone through some rough patches in my time, but I’ve also experienced some fantastic times as well, especially now that I let a wonderful guy into my life. We all have our ups and downs, but even though we hate going through bad times, it’s a part of what makes us who we are. And while I love to escape from reality sometimes with video games, I also appreciate the titles that teach valuable life lessons and tell rich stories without words. When I heard about Old Man’s Journey from several months ago, I knew that it was a game that I had to have in my collection. And now that it’s finally available, it does not disappoint.
Visually, Old Man’s Journey is beautiful and stunning. The game features unique and original hand-drawn artwork that is rather charming. While it appears to be 2-D on the surface, everything is layered so that it feels 3-D when you actually play the game and move around. Old Man’s Journey has intricate and detailed landscapes and environments that are rather immersive with their textures, and the color palette ranges from soft pastels to bold and vibrant hues to dark and gloomy tones when needed. Character models for the old man and other people he comes across, as well as animals, are rendered nicely and have natural, realistic movements. All animations in the game are smooth and fluid, with no lag or choppiness on my iPhone 7. There is also a whimsical and cheerful soundtrack in the background that is delightful to listen to, and the sound effects are a nice finishing touch. I highly recommend using your best headphones or earbuds to experience the audio in Old Man’s Journey, because to me, it’s perfect and sets the mood of the game well.
Even though Old Man’s Journey is a puzzle adventure game, there aren’t any real “levels” to go through, and you can’t exactly backtrack in the game. Instead, Old Man’s Journey tells a deep and touching story without the use of dialogue or text, so players get to experience the tale from the beginning and go through a number of scenes seamlessly as they transition into each other in a linear fashion. While the game shows players the journey of an old man, there are puzzle elements in the game where you manipulate the landscape in order to help guide the old man safely across and get to various destinations. Once you reach milestones and other points of interest, the game reveals vignette flashback scenes that reveals a piece of the old man’s past that you can even interact with before it disappears. In the end, this game is more of a storytelling experience with some light puzzle elements thrown in for some resistance, otherwise this “game” would just be too super straightforward and easy. It’s all about the journey to discover who this old man is, what his past is, and why he’s on this journey to begin with. Be warned — the story can be rather relatable, as it’s emotional with heartache, regret, and eventually hope.
The controls in Old Man’s Journey are simple and intuitive. To have the old man move somewhere, just tap on the spot you want him to go to. Sometimes though, you’ll need to manipulate the terrain so that he can reach specific spots on the map. To do this, just drag your finger vertically on the screen and you’ll see what parts of the environment you can shift (they’ll have a thick yellow outline on them). Then just vertically drag the part of the land you want to move around, and make sure that it creates a path for the old man to walk on, and then tap on where you want to go. You can also interact with other people, animals, and even the environment just by tapping on them, or sometimes you’ll need to do other gestures in order to operate something, but it’s never anything too complicated.
Since Old Man’s Journey is a pressure-free puzzle game, you can take your time with it to enjoy all of the little things about it. However, be warned — the game can be completed in a short amount of time, and there is not much in term of replay value here. However, if you enjoy emotional stories and experiences, then you’ll love this one.
I’ve only started Old Man’s Journey and have not finished it yet because I’m taking my time, but so far it’s enjoyable. I am in love with the gorgeous art style, especially the subtle color swirls that make it feel like it’s alive. The audio is superb, and the controls work well for the touch screen. I also like the fact that there’s a powerful narrative that is told through the game but it’s done entirely without the use of dialogue or words, and is only shown to players through imagery that we can all relate to in some way. Personally, to me, these are the best experiences you could ask for.
I highly recommend giving Old Man’s Journey a go if you’re into games with emotional stories and life experiences. You can find Old Man’s Journey on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for $4.99. There are no in-app purchases.