Video games can do many things. They can train children to be competitive little assholes, provide relaxation after a long week, fry your brain and deprive you of sleep, or give you a pleasant and surreal world to escape to when things are rough. Proteus is one of those. Which one? Do some detective work and ask again later. By detective work I mean read all the stuff I wrote below with my typey-fingers.
As far as aesthetics go, imagine Doom but with an Elysian paradise where existence is a song and every action is an instrument, as opposed to bloody pixellated hell. The description informs you that you interact not by action but by presence, and that’s the true ingenious aspect of Proteus. You are not a character, but a presence, and your sole purpose is to explore and experience.
The world of Proteus is randomly generated with consistent components, meaning the great tree in one generation may be in a different place relative to the prior generation. There is a slight magical tinge to the theme, as you’ll quickly discover. Old artifacts like mountain totems and a circle of stones can cause visual curiosities, like shifting stars, weather changes, or even seasonal changes. I won’t get too in-depth, because the game IS about discovery.
And immersion. Though most shapes are little more than masses of pixels and polygons, the design is complete and satisfying. There aren’t too many elements that make you feel involved, yet a willing mind will take you right where Proteus wants you to be.
A fast session can be shorter than ten minutes, but won’t be very satisfying. A long session can last an hour or more, but may veer to the dull side. The best thing to do is take it at your own pace once you’ve learned the ropes. It does have an interesting conclusion, and that on its own can make a longer game worth the time. But hey, that’s just what I think.
$10 is a reasonable price, though I will admit that Proteus is somewhat lacking in replay value. It’s a well done “every once in a while” art game that offers an experience pleasing to the eyes and ears, but the lack of direction and definable goals makes it difficult to cling to. I personally think that Proteus is a game worth getting, that’s ultimately up to you to decide. Art games aren’t for everyone.
Tim Martin of Telegraph was sucked right in, and justly so. Proteus is a game, yet not quite a game, testing boundaries and piquing curiosities. I’d rather not post a negative review, considering most of the negative reviews of Proteus are written by idiots. Either you like it or you’re indifferent. Who would hate a game like this? Anyway, here’s the review link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/video-game-reviews/9866972/Proteus-review.html