Vane – adventurous confusion

Guys, I am confused and don’t know what to think about this game. Let me explain why. This indie game described itself as an adventurous game with an atmospherically gameplay and riddles to solve, to explore a mystical world. So, these were my expectations and I was ready to go on an adventure. But, exactly twenty seconds after I pressed the start button, I was already on my way to total confusion.

There is a huge storm around me. Me, my character is a girl who runs through this storm and carries a little glowing ball. Her destination seems to be the giant tower in the middle of the storm, but here is the first problem: it “seems to be”. Those words describe my gameplay in the first hour pretty well. The main problem is the missing of any instructions. I don’t know who I am, where I am, what I must do and what my target is. I got the feeling, that the publisher “friend & foe” chose their company name and made a game for it.
This sounds worse than it actually is. Yes, there is no storytelling, but this brings the focus to the very special environment. Deserts, cliffs, mountains and the remains of an old civilisation. Everything happens under the threatening hand of the approaching storm. Nobody knows, where it is coming from, but that’s okay. I mean, why should I get any background knowledge? Seriously, the game entices with a mysterious aura. You begin with nothing and get a picture of this world by solving riddle by riddle.

the remains of civilisation located in the underground

Nevertheless, back to the “story”. There are not many other characters around. Only some enigmatic creatures, which look like plague doctors from the middle ages, some ravens and children, who look like your own character. Until the end, I did not understand the connection between those figures. The children can turn into ravens. Good for the gameplay because there are two types of characters to control. This is a smart and entertaining gadget to expand gameplay possibilities. The link between both characters is important to solve mysteries (Comparable to Assassins Creed Origins feature to take control over your own hawk). All these kids work for the “plague doctors” as well. They do it, because IT SEEMS like there is a dependency ratio between them. Still, you will never know why they do it. I believe there are certainly gamers who like this “not knowing anything” part in games. It’s something you have to expect of an indie game. Always new ways to treat the player!

the masters (plague doctors) and their children

By time, you get to know, how to handle the riddles and solve them faster. At least after two hours the confusion becomes less and now it’s the unique world, which catches me. It’s not an extra beautiful and detail-oriented, more the atmospherically surrounding area that is mesmerizing. An atmosphere of peace and threat. Therefore, the control of your characters, the way you lead them through this world, should be smooth to make it completely enjoyable.

So, I was really looking forward to a new kind of flying and exploring experience in a half openworld game. In some parts, the controls made it to complicated. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts where you get this “I believe I can fly” feeling. Gliding over giant landscapes and exploring the world in a fast way, quite awesome! However, when it’s about precise controlling we get some problems. I was close to a rage quit when I directed my raven to a checkpoint in shape of a perch and the bird just refused to land for straight two minutes.

the marvelous landscape

I thought I was at the wrong point and this was not part of the game. I flew around for another 20 minutes and I did not regret it, because I found new places and parts of the map. Later I came back to the same perch, where the raven immediately landed, and I was able to continue the story. That’s one way to extend the playtime.

Up to now, it took me five hours to play through it once, though there are more possible endings to try. It’s a special kind of game and clearly includes all parts of a typical indie game. With some more content and options for actions in the game, there is a way to become a solid singleplayer adventure. Try it and tell us your opinions about “Vane”.

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