Let's get the semantics out of the way first, this is no classic game. There are no failstates, no goal to achieve, no epic story to behold. So, if you are looking for something "game", Proteus won't work out for you. It's rather experimental too. It could possibly be considered pretenious and if you are not open-minded about programs like this or really need to carefully consider on what to spend your Steam-money on, it is NOT something you want to invest in.
Much like Dear Esther (or to some extent Gone Home) it's a virtual installation (forget computers for a second and think art-exhibitions). You explore the seasons on a remote island. Maybe take a picture or two. That's it. What you take from this or not highly depends on yourself and your state of mind - this could be either a fun little journey or a load of artsy-fartsy ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.
I found it to be rather beautiful, the lowres-graphics in particular make this little trip nicely abstract. As a result your imagination might kick in - which is always welcome in this day and age of photorealism. The entire experience is also quite well crafted, using simple mechanics to create an interesting atmosphere throughout each season. Fall and winter in particular have been very much to my liking, when happiness and liveliness of spring and sommer start fading from the world and darkness rises, a feeling of solitude embraces the island. It's not scary or depressive though, just lonesome.
The sounddesign might have something to do with the excellent atmosphere too, as it's pretty well implemented. The whole world seems to be in tune with itself, animals, plants and various places emitting various little melodies. It's a cool concept (maybe a tad bit esoteric) and could properly lead to some thinking about yourself and the universe (certain substances might help in kickstarting this process).
Proteus is nicely mythical and quite wonderful to be honest, which made the trip to the island worthwhile for me. Nothing life-changing, but - if given the chance - you should try it at least once (but not if you have doubts about it, that will only lead to disappointment).
Posted: December 6th, 2013