There is a moment in life when you feel the need to embark on a journey, and that moment is not said to come to a stage where you have the physical skills to face it, but that’s the beauty. When a certain letter is delivered to the old man of Old Man’s Journey, the bearded hero does not hesitate for a moment: he takes his backpack and cane and sets off on a long path that leads him to
cross mountains, plains, cities and hills to reach his goal , without caring too much about the physical condition or the means of transport chosen (in this case, the feet). A bit like Lynch’s A True Story, where Old Straight runs through Iowa aboard a lawnmower at a speed of 8 kilometers per hour, the protagonist of Old Man
If the physical prowess does not allow him to climb mountains and cross impervious obstacles, then the surrounding scenario will bend to his will, allowing him a smooth transition to the mysterious goal, as if to respect the inexorable pace of his steps by shyly aside.
There is a widespread hermeticism in this game and a sort of latent sense of ineluctability that clashes in a fascinating way with the bright and colorful representation of the beautiful sceneries. What is written in the letter received from the old man? Why face the journey? Why, above all, is your journey so important that you move mountains while not being interrupted?
It is to think that these questions are too prosaic to find a clear answer in this story, all we can do is to support the will of the old and accompany him on his journey, which becomes the path of life and memory from the powerful symbolic charge.
THE OLD DEMIURGE
Each screen of Old Man’s Journey is a small work of art, drawn with light touch and dreamy style, always staging new settings in the path of the old. Each one is, in fact, also a single level of the game, which offers riddles to solve in every beautiful glimpse of the journey:
the aim is to reach a certain goal to the protagonist, changing the shape of the environment, lowering hills, creating new and trying to align the plane in which the old is located with the place to be reached, according to the fundamental principle of finding the shortest route between two points.
It is not always that simple, however: continuing to the levels the puzzles become more stratified, and although the form of interaction remains substantially the same,
or the touch and drag elements of the scenario to change the attitude, gradually emerge further objectives to be completed, how to move vehicles, get trains to their destination, move sheep, free the passage for other characters or objects around the screen.
The basic mechanics remains therefore the same but the effects of this vary and become more complex and multifaceted. Some uncertainty in the touch-registration system on the screen can break the romance, making it a bit frustrating to solve the puzzles when you can not get things done exactly as they should, but they are marginal faults.
Once the various puzzles are completed within a screen, the old man often pauses by observing some characters or elements of the scenario, starting memories that essentially tell his story through scenes of interlude and reveal piece by piece the
life of the protagonist and the mystery underlying his journey. These are also simple but meaningful moments, enriched by this particular graphic style that mixes almost impressionist solutions in the use of colors and lights that are suddenly naive and perfectly associated with the general climate of the game.