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

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.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.