There are many games where from the beginning to the end is not hear say a single word, but that in spite of this are able to speak to the hearts of those who are in front of the screen. We were reminded of titles like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Journey, but also Inside, and the poetic Brothers: A tale Two Sons.

Arise: A Simple Story is part of the full title in this particular category: it is a game that begins in the most sad can, with a funeral, but through a language that is very particular, that of memories, manages to excite.

The protagonist of the aforementioned funeral is an elderly man, with a luxuriant white beard. His body is given to flame on an ancient pyre just in the first scene, but wakes up soon after in a place beyond the earthly dimension. A place shrouded in snow with a powerful light that stands out on the bottom. It is the symbol of death, but does not have a connotation terrifying, but… you can breathe an atmosphere of peace.

The path to the light is studded with intermediate stops, each of which is characterized by an object, a flower or an animal. Apparently they do not make sense, but stopping in front of each of them, you have access to one of the 10 levels of the Arise, that tell the most meaningful memories of the protagonist.

Them live in the form of brief adventures of the duration, almost always less than an hour. In each level you have to get to the end of the path by solving a series of environmental puzzles never trivial but also not overly complicated. Everything revolves around the manipulation of time: you can wrap it, slide it at different speeds, explaining under your eyes a few seconds of life, or entire seasons, or even stop it for a few moments.

Arise: A Simple Story

  • Developer: Small
  • Publisher: Techland
  • Availability: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Version tested: PS4

A similar power is not a novelty in a video game, but the way in which it is used in the Arise for the overcoming of the obstacles is really impressive. You will have to use of course also the grey matter and keep your eyes open, because well-hidden pulsano fragments of memories valuable from the artistic point of view, and important to reconstruct at best the stories which were (re)living.

Each stage has a different theme, which is reflected in the scenario that you have to follow. A beach dotted with mini-islands that are to be explored by raising or lowering of the tide and taking advantage of the wrecks that this brings to the surface, a forest full of life, in which you move snails giant that can be used as a temporary means of transport, a field of sunflowers, which, according to the angle and give the right analog stick will move in following the star of which long for the warm rays.

Arise_01The exciting soundtrack of the Arise was composed by David GarcĂ­a, author of the soundtracks of Hellblade, and RiME.

These are only the first examples of an explosive creativity that you will be facing in the Arise: A Simple Story. A succession of situations and events that will leave you stunned, but at the same time they will build in your heart the awareness to be experiencing something special.

The assembly is held together by the art direction sublime and the enchanting soundtrack, two elements which cannot fail to call to mind the masterpieces of Studio Ghibli, such as Arrietty: The secret world under the floor, and Kiki’s Delivery service. If you have seen these two masterpieces of animation, you’ll already have an idea of what is in front of you.

In the midst of so much splendour, is, unfortunately, impossible not to notice some of the defects in a very small way ruin the experience of the game, breaking the wonderful suspension from the realities that Arise is able to create. The game is experienced with a particular perspective, halfway between the third person and classic camera “bird’s eye”.

The shots may not be changed by the player as the right stick is used to slide the time, and that’s to create in some cases of the problems in detection of the depth and the consequent problems with collisions or accidental deaths. Nothing particularly serious, as the checkpoints are too close together, and never is forced to retrace sections of the game too long.

Arise_02The fragments of memories are the only collectible in the game. Finding them all will unlock a lot of Trophies Bronze and a coveted Gold.

Another small problem concerns the rigidity of some of the movements. The guys in the Small Studio (it really is called that) have made animations beautiful for the burly and bearded protagonist, but in an attempt to give a convincing weight and a gait not too agile, that transmits at the same time, the advanced age and accumulated experience, have rendered cumbersome some of the actions that a platform of this kind are critical.

For example, to make jumps longer or higher is necessary to take a sufficient impetus, which in some cases can prove to be difficult to the reduced space available to or for the above-mentioned problem with the use of fixed frames.

You will be able to share this journey with a second person, giving them into the hand of the power of the time. The co-op mode does not change anything in terms of gameplay, but allows you to taste some of the nuances that the individual may be lost. Who writes to you has played a couple of levels in the company of a second person little accustomed to video games, which then had my mind free from “duties” of those doing our job.

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Arise_03Each level/memory is characterized by a specific color palette, some pictures look like real paintings.

This has allowed us to notice the nuances that are otherwise difficult to detect, such as the different proportions of objects in a level which in fact represented the childhood of the protagonist, an age in which everything in fact appears larger and in some ways scary.

Arise: A Simple Story is one of those titles that you just can’t not recommend it, regardless of tastes. As it says in its title, it’s a simple story but also a wealth of valuable messages for those who have any desire to catch them and make them their own. It is a title that invites us to “look back”, but not necessarily with a sense of melancholy, but with the awareness that what you did in life, he had always the sense.