I play a ton of games. I’m also really fickle. In fact, one of the main reasons why I make games is my frustration with finding games that satiate my specific moods. I’m your worst game design nightmare. I get easily irritated, therefore, I HATE making games for me.
For a few years now, I’ve been hearing about this point-and-click adventure game called Trauma. I believe we’ve even had the immense honor of being nominated for awards next to this title. In my head, I’m not a huge point-and-click fan, despite playing every damn Cyan game from Myst onwards. Somewhere, I think I might be lying to myself. But, the truth is… a genre doesn’t have to define a game. Sometimes, a game can be so completely amazing, it just busts “awesome” at the seams.
I can’t really explain why I’ve put off playing Trauma for so long. At the end of the day, I was just being a jerk. I judged the book by its cover (which honestly looks fantastic). It wasn’t for me. It was for some other artsy, geeky, game-design nerd. Yep. I was wrong.
Trauma is INCREDIBLE. The story draws you in even when you hate story games (I DO, maybe). The aesthetics are phenomenal. A REAL designer was on this project. Almost every game I play these days lacks a good designer; that was not the case here. Someone took the time to really pay attention to the experience they were creating. There are no handholding tutorials. In fact, the basic tutorials are built into every stage of the game and even hidden as a part of the experience itself. The whole damn thing is just bathed in style. The music sets a perfect tone. The photographic imagery is impressive. The animations are smooth without being corny.
One of my favorite parts of the game is its control interface. By nature it is point and click. However, other actions can be performed by drawing lights in the air. Those actions are scattered around this playground-style-world for you to find. The only complaint I have about the game is that the 3 ‘execute’ actions are the same for each ‘dream’. I would have loved to explore a bit more and interact in a more conductive (think music) way.
The play time is rather short. We’re talking 3 hours to completely find everything and all the alternate endings. While some people may find this terrible, I cannot help but LOVE the game for this. The whole experience was fleeting. I have been treated to this amazing experience. I’ll never be in that state of mind again at that moment and pick that game to play. You’ve given me a lasting memory. Thank you Krystian Majewski.
Games like this make me self-reflect. I love being touched by an experience. For me, it’s rare and when it happens I cannot help but be thankful. Thankful that there are people out there making such great experiences and thankful that I’ve just got to get out there and discover them.