Tag Archive: peaceful

A Bright Light in the Middle of the Ocean

itch.io Page

Video games allow us to intimately interact with spaces to a degree unrivaled by any other medium. It’s a lesson I think most players learn eventually. It’s learned in that moment when we catch ourselves examining every discarded scrap of paper, every shadowy corner, and the contents of every mug and cup left on a table because we’ve been captivated by a world, whether it is wondrous or horrifying, and we desperately want to know as much about it as we can. I first learned this lesson at a young age via my Sega Saturn when Myst completely captured my attention with its melancholy, mysterious island, but every now and then a game like A Bright Light in the Middle of the Ocean comes around to remind me of it.

Snow Machine

Knytt Stories – Snow Machine by RichardJ

Official Site || Level Archive

It only seems appropriate to bring Knyttmas to a close with a level I stumbled upon where Juni must save Knyttmas. This is a very peaceful level where the only remote sense of danger comes from a small amount of water which poses no actual threat and only really exists for the sake of enhancing the scene. The journey here is little more than a straight line back and forth with a few hills and bumps along the way, but this linearity is completely fine as the focus here is on providing a relaxing atmosphere with some nice scenery to look at. While platforming beyond making a few hops isn’t necessary, there are a few small secrets scattered around slightly off of the beaten path. I am also glad that the game makes players walk back to the start after activating the snow machine as it would have likely been easier to cover the journey with a few picture in an ending slideshow, but being able to witness the way the snow has changed the landscape on the way back is a great reward. Snow Machine makes for a wonderfully calming experience as its lack of danger and its straightforward approach properly capture the relaxing nature of taking a stroll through the snow.


Steam Page || Official Site

Games get labeled as various types of ‘pure experiences’ far too often, but Refunct really is about as close as a game can probably get to providing a pure platforming experience. With no enemies, hazards, nor any other source of danger, Refunct allows players to run, slide, swim, and crawl through its single play area at whichever pace they choose. Stepping on platforms transforms them from dull grey pillars into vibrant columns of grass and dirt and collectible cubes are scattered about, but the columns and cubes are entirely optional objectives. The only concrete goal within the game is to step on the large red buttons, marked by vertical lines of light, which leads to making the next set of platforms rise up from below the water’s surface. There is a great sense of smoothness to the platforming, which is created in no small part by a very generous wall jumping system and the ability to automatically slide up onto a platform when near its top. Pipes, jump pads, and elevators add some variety to the platforming, though players also have a good amount of freedom in picking out their own paths. Refunct is a short game which is fully focused on the relaxing, somewhat hypnotic, and seamlessly smooth experience of navigating an environment and I only wish there were more games like it.