You awake alone in a desert. In the distance is the tallest landmark. It seems the obvious place to go, because logic says the higher up you are the more you can see, and the more you can see the more you can understand your environment.
Along the way you’ll encounter other players, but they won’t be identifiable with a username and text/voice chat is impossible. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth accompanying them or for them to accompany you. Your only means of communication is a button press that draws their attention, if they even notice you to begin with. You can go solo, or meet someone else, or you may meet the same person; there's a way to know if you pay attention. There's a definite advantage in having a companion, sharing the journey, having someone walk where you walk; what that is you can discover for yourself.
Find a piece of cloth and you can fly for a short time. You can extend the time allotted by collecting something else, but you’ll have to go exploring for that.
Stylistically. Journey's a weird hybrid of cell shading, realistic sand and gradient textures. It manages to vary the landscape so it never gets dull. Like the developers previous game, flower, there's no map or instructions to guide you, no visible HUD to annoy you. It forces you to experiment and rely on your wits and emotional responses. The director claims the initial concept was to create something that didn't involve the egotistical “defeat/kill/win mentality" of most video games. I applaud that, but I'm biased.
It’s very short, you’ll finish it in one sitting, so you'll have to ask: is it worth the money? That depends on the individual. You’re paying for an experience filled with wonder and joy. Can you put a price on joy? It’s like being in love: it’s magical the first time you go through it; the second time it’s less engaging, but you can be guide for someone having their first play-through. If that’s worth more than money to you, then it’s worth it. Everyone else, wait for it to be on offer.
Available from PSN only. Price: £9.99 / $14.99
5 meaningful climbs out of 5