Since I’m perpetually out of the loop, I somehow missed the fact that Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka had released a demo of their new game, Even the Ocean. These are the guys who made Anodyne last year, one of my must play games of 2013, so you’d think I would have noticed them releasing something. Way to game journalism, Joel.
The premise for the game is strange, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from this duo. The game is actually a marriage of two games, one Even and the other The Ocean. Even is about a young woman exploring a seaside town, and The Ocean is a platformer where you have to manage a shifting energy bar to stay alive. Those two stories are supposed to mix together in the final game, and any attempt of mine to figure out how that would work results in a headache. Given the twisting, intricate story of Anodyne, I think these are the only two devs out there who could pull off this kind of story work.
The demo is only for The Ocean, but even that looks like it’s interesting and fun on its own. It’s a platformer, but the twist is manipulating an energy bar in one direction or another. It can be filled with white or purple energy from the environment, and filling the bar with any one color entirely will kill you. It’s also important to know that having more purple energy makes your jumps shorter but increases your speed, and having more white energy makes you jump higher but move slower. Using these two energy types and knowing how much of which energy type you’ll need to do specific things is how you’ll get ahead. It’s something that isn’t too rough while out exploring natural areas, but when you hit the game’s gauntlets, you’re going to want to know this system well. The devs aren’t afraid of pushing their players, as you’ll find out.
It’s an odd concept for a game, but seeing how the two games come together should be very interesting. In the meantime, the demo shows a fun game that’ll push your mind and your reflexes if you give it a shot.