Even the Ocean: a contemplative, innovative platformer set in two worlds

Tom Sykes

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My thoughts on Analgesic's Anodyne (which taken out of context sounds like some sort of Victorian miracle cure) were neatly summarised in the form of this review , which used words like "tapestry" and "sentient shrubs" before awarding the enigmatic Zelda-a-like a big fat 84%. You can bet that I'm intrigued by their follow-up, Even the Ocean , a sidescrolling "contemplation of balance" (read: platformer) comprised of two seemingly intermingling halves. A "motion demo" of the in-development game was released a little while ago, a boxy and prototypical build showing off Even the Ocean's unique mechanics without venturing into content found in the actual game. You can find it here .

It's worth a play, particularly if like me you've grown a little bored of the mechanical derivation that typically infests even the best 2D jumping games. Basically, heroine Even will come across white or purple energy-spewing objects as she explores the game world, which (when absorbed) will make her jump higher/run slower, or run faster/jump lower respectively. Suck in too much white or purple and Even will die; getting past obstacles therefore involves maintaining a careful balance, even as you hoover up a bunch of white to leap to an otherwise inaccessible ledge, or imbibe a load of purple to canter across the ground like a woman possessed. Yes it is enormously difficult to explain - this video might better clue you in.

The finished game will consist of two parts: Even, a "longform adventure platformer

where your health is replaced by an energy bar that affects your motion", and The Ocean, a "shorter modern-day slice-of-life-walk-and-talk adventure+dream platformer that looks at The Ocean's mechanics". The former will take place in some sort of fantasy world, while the latter is set in a present day town by the sea. It's not yet clear how both parts will interact. Here's a little more about The Ocean, taken from the website:

"The Ocean takes place mainly in "Nature" and "Gauntlet" areas, Gauntlet areas are linear levels with rising and falling tension in the level design, Nature areas are more nonlinear, wider-open areas populated with NPCs. We hope that the combination of these areas with the NPCs, aesthetics and overarching narrative provide a rich framework for players to interpret the themes and ideas behind The Ocean."

This brief video provides a decent overview of the demo's contents. The full game, meanwhile, should be out in around a year.

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