To some, Proteus is a very tranquil and peaceful first person experience, to others it might be dull and pointless. There is nothing really here other than exploring randomly generated islands all in a lo-fi pixelated setting. The game seems to have a base soundtrack of lo-fi synth beats that gets added to based on what you're currently looking at. Trees, bushes, insects, animals and tombstones will all form a melody as you walk by them.
There is no death in Proteus, just walking around. The islands seem small enough to be fully explored. If there are any caves, or underground areas, I haven't found them. Since this is an exploration game, there is only walking. There is a sit button, but there is no running, no jumping, and no zoom. No crafting, building or creativity, just walking.
You'll see day turn to night, the sun will set, and the moon will rise over the ocean. Summer will turn to fall, fall into winter. You can stand on mountains above rain clouds, or go down to be in the rain. You can see the stars begin to trip out and pulsate. Comets will fall from the sky and other seemingly random things. Plus portals that will suck energy orbs into them and warp you away to the next season.
While you won't die, there is an end to each game. Winter will lead to the end, a closing, a goodbye, but again there is always a new island to explore. Since the game generates different islands each time you play, one island can have an uncreepy graveyard, a circle of statues, a cabin, a bay full of crabs, a flock of chickens and another island can be seemingly barren. It is always a new trip to a different island.
When you evaluate whether or not to play Proteus, you need to evaluate what you're looking for. Are you looking for something to relax and zone out? Are you looking for a clear cut objective? No matter how hard you explore in Proteus, you won't find any objectives other than ones you set for yourself. Do I go over that mountain or do I follow that snow owl in the trees? The choice is yours. While someone might be able to get hours of exploring Proteus, others might get bored after 5 minutes.
---- someone wanted me to return to Proteus again ----
This island isn't some haven or vacation. It is a gaming prison. No doors, no keys, no jumping, no running and no way off the island. Forced to spend a year in solitary confinement. Alone on an island, but yet not alone. There is the wildlife. Crabs on the ground, bees chasing me through the forest, a flock of chickens and an ominous snow owl that watches me from afar. These are my roommates. My only playthings on a bright and vibrant island.
This time on the island, I managed to find the circle of totems pretty quickly. Then I found a cabin on a peninsula. After that, I discovered the fat world tree and the squirrels that frolicked beside it. Its a beautiful place to be alone. In a way there were still others here, because tombstones littered the ground. Everything makes a sound. My walk, the crinkle of pixelated leaves, toads hopping away and even the stars themselves made a harmony.
Spring turned to summer. The bees were swarmed around various trees. Some may say that bees belong to the spring to pollinate flowers, but for anyone that's ever been to a theme park or opened a can of soda, they know that bees love the summer. I had completely explored the island thoroughly. At some point I just wandered along the sandy beach outline of the safe haven from hardcore games.
Fall rose before I knew it. Everything was orange and flaming red. The wildlife was on its back. This land was slowly dying and so was everything on it. There was a glimpse of what was to come. I saw trees with no leaves, brief glimpses of a red sky with swirling stars as if Armageddon was there. It was only a daydream it would seem. Everything returned back to normal with leaves on the trees and the clouds coming closer to the ground.
Winter came one night. The island was bleak and everything was dead and white. The leafless trees looked like giant thorn bushes. There were no animals. Nothing but me. I scoured the island, but found nothing but white snow that covered the ground. An overcast sky shadowed the trees with a purple hue.
Then as I went to the cabin on the beach, I began to slowly drift away. No not into the water, but the sky. I was being pulled off the ground like I had the year prior in Proteus. Soon I was at the clouds themselves when I had just had my feet in the snow. Through the clouds I went, higher and higher, realizing that I had succumb to everyone's fate on Proteus. Up I went, looking at the stars ahead of me. Their light guiding me off the island. I was free again. My sentence was over. I had left Proteus behind. The time spent on Proteus had made me a calmer and better person. Goodbye my prison. I will never forget you!