If I had to describe Proteus in two words I would pick ‘Beautiful Simplicity’. Your entire interaction with this game is through what is presented in front of your eyes and ears. It is even more interesting to know that the two are intrinsically linked; the music, provided by David Kananga, has layers that are added depending on your surroundings.
When you start, your character opens their eyes. You are floating on an ocean, and the island you can explore is just on the horizon – glide over to it and an ambient soundtrack takes hold. What you encounter on this island will modify a layer of the soundtrack depending on what it is you find. For example, a ruined castle that towers over you will have a subtle but noticeable effect. If you climb a mountain and pass the clouds it will take on a much more airy melody. Some places have spectacular events that can change the island gradually (I don’t want to spoil any of them though), and then there are the creatures that inhabit the island. Rabbits, owls and the very rare squirrel all add different sounds to the landscape that are more energetic and louder than the static places.
The island has a timeline – if you spend long enough there the seasons will change, and you guessed it, so does the music. Different animals can appear during different parts of the day and in different seasons. Jenn was playing in the spring and saw a group of white insects flying around. She really enjoyed the way they looked and sounded so she stood looking at them for a moment. After a while however, their music and their little sprites died; she was really sad to see them fluttering pathetically on the floor. Everything on the island has a life cycle.
If I had to describe Proteus in two words I would pick ‘Beautiful Simplicity’.
I recommend using headphones if you don’t have an amazing speaker set up. Proteus is exploration in a landscape and soundscape brought to it’s logical harmonious conclusion. It’s currently in beta so there are more features and possibilities being considered, but the simplicity of the game means that even in this state it’s fully playable for hours on end. Last time I played it I went into a kind of Zen trance because the game only has move buttons and the mouse. Your ethereal character floats at walking pace and it is very calming to see the pixelated trees and animal sprites live and move around you. There are no high definition textures here, only bright or pastal colours and sprites that let your imagination fill in the details.
I would place this game as one of the most important game to be created in the last ten years. It takes real guts and expertise to pull off something that nobody has tried before. The fact that it is such a relaxed game to play sets itself aside from action packed adventures that seem to be flooding the market lately.
“My Rezzed 2012 Game of The Show” -Jenn