Modern Virtual Environments You Can Play In
When video games first emerged is was likely very difficult to see them as an art form. Rectangles moving up and down on a screen aren’t exactly poetic, yet as the medium has come in leaps and bounds over the last three decades games are now a legitimate art outlet. With every aspect of these immersive stories fine tuned to be awe inspiring its no wonder that fans spend endless hours staring at screens in an escape form their reality. What is curious however is how the biggest titles in games are some of the least artful, many of the leading games such as sports titles like EA’s FIFA or Epic’s record breaking Fortnite are purely competitive and lack the artistic side that games can harness. Today it falls to the smaller studios to create the most impressive art-driven titles that focus on the design over sheer profit, here are some of the contenders for the top spot of ‘arty’ modern games.
Ori And the Blind Forest
This game always comes up when talking about visuals thanks to its charming character design and gorgeous environments. Developed by Moon Studios in Vienna this enchanting tale tells the story of a fox-like creature trying to safe the forest from an impending darkness. As you traverse through the intricately made levels your quest will bring colour and light back into the forest. With a steady learning curve, tranquil soundtrack and wonderfully lit backdrop it’s no wonder this game is constantly talked about.
What Remains of Edith Finch?
This seemingly regular first-person narrative title focuses on someone returning to their odd childhood home as they tell the story of their eccentric family’s past. What you don’t expect is to be taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotion and diverse gameplay. The game becomes several short stories each focused on a family member and each one with its own visual style. This game has so much up its sleeve you can’t help but keep playing as the beautifully told story unfolds one exciting chapter at a time.
This cryptic and shadowed tale comes from the creators of the equally nightmarish Limbo – Playdead studios. Inside takes a similar form in that it is a side scrolling platformer, however the story here is much more bizarre. Though it may seem simple at first, the impending doom of your fragile character and the bleak environments you struggle through really get into your head. The story, told only through gameplay, becomes delightfully stranger as you progress, so don’t stop when you get stuck.
The Gardens Between
This new title from the Australian Voxel Agents is a perfect example of videogame storytelling. Two friends make their way through impossible islands created from household objects as you solve mini puzzles to continue upward. The game play is simple yet satisfying and every new world looks more impressive than the last. Add a an electronic ambient score that captures the youthfulness and modern fun and you have a game that delivers a very specific feel. A short and sweet but worthy achievement.