A quite expansive underwater adventure, with a gameplay emphasis on exploration, and an aesthetic focus on atmospherics, which are done very, very well. You play as a lone character who seeks to uncover the truth about her past and the secrets of the world around her. Her characteristic ability is being able to sing magical songs that grant her abilities.
The game is very well-designed under the vein of letting the you, the player, figure things out on your own, and make your own discoveries. There are many features that are not outright explained, but are revealed to you if you wish to discover them, and this includes both narrative and gameplay features (e.g. decoding the Aquarian script, and riding seahorses
). This arrangement fits very well with the narrative. The game also works well as a pick-up-and-play experience, with little needed in the way of previous genre or gameplay experience, which is nice (and also fits with this of gradual discovery).
The narrative, a story about gradual discovery of the past, the truth, and the meaning of one's own life, is also very nice. It's not too wordy, which is appropriate for a story like this one that's introspective. I felt the story was a little weak at the end, but the music and art made up for it. In any case, the game serves well the principle of "show, don't tell".
The soundtrack is very brilliant, beautiful, and memorable. For music theory geeks like me, it may be a little sparse on diversity of tonalities, but there's a reason for that, and that's to make the music match up to the singable tones. Fun fact: if you can recognize keys, you might also catch when Naija sings different tones. For another fun activity, pick out the leitmotifs.
The art is very detailed, and also very beautiful. Most of the areas are simply gorgeous to look at. You might even find yourself sitting on a chair or a rock and taking in the scenery and soundtrack. Character animations may be a tiny bit stiff at times, but that is a negligible issue considering the sheer beauty of the art. It unfolds like a fairy tale...
For those of you who feel that there ought to be some more combat in the game -- well, there certainly is; one of the earliest abilities you get is a combat ability, and there are certainly many enemies to fight later on, including several pretty difficult bosses. Though you may find yourself asking philosophical questions about the role of combat, as I did...
There's also an item crafting system wherein you can "cook" ingredients to get food items that can do healing or temporarily boost abilities. It's also quite extensive, and has many opportunities for discovery through experimentation if you're interested in that.
Backtracking in this game is a little tedious at times, but you later on get abilities that allow faster movement, so I suggest waiting on backtracking until you get those. Keep in mind that the map allows you to set multiple colored markers indicating features that you'd like to return to -- which is a really, really nice thing that I actually haven't yet seen another metroidvania game do.
TL;DR much to explore, much to discovery, brilliant top-notch atmospherics. Definitely recommended.