So, I had a whole bunch of problems with the game. One was the way exploration worked. At the beginning it seems like it wants to encourage exploration, but it quickly becomes clear that it’s pretty linear with hidden rooms every so often. There’s no room for free-form collecting, and instead you tread defined paths made to look disordered. There’s not room for emergent play. Jumping off cliffs into the ocean only sees you reset at the top.
There wasn’t enough joy or freedom at the beginning to make a worthwhile contrast during the character’s literal descent. Instead you’re moving from room to room for no reason. Your character remains mute, giving you no reason for going onward. At the end of the first of five chapters, there is no shift in the character, just new information. So the game does not give the player adequate reason to go onward: neither the gameplay nor the story are terribly compelling. The only thing that’s remotely compelling is the environment, but you can’t really explore and it fades to muted greys.
Once I saw the first cutscene, it became clear that the game was going to be an extended metaphor for something. And quite frankly normally I find those games tedious. Reading the plot synopsis made it obvious that it was a tedious metaphor, which is a combination of [spoilers] It’s all a dream & a psychological paradigm that is easy to remember, but not actually accurate, at all.[end spoilers.] It’s telling that they can’t even tell that story in game, and have to rely on cutscenes to do the heavy lifting.
So to be as blunt as possible it’s pretentious. Its creators are pretending to tell a deep story full of human emotion, but start off having the player spend hours without showing that emotion. It tries to tell a story through scenery, but the scenery is static and simplistic. And then when you get down to it, the story is trite, hamfisted, and inaccurate. It’s like reading a Pablo Neruda poem or eating a bunch of pretty cake for dinner. All imagery, no depth. Maybe it gets better. I only played for two hours, but I doubt it.