Reflections is a real-world adventure game where every action you take has meaningful consequences that radically shape the experience. The game takes a new approach to the story, where everything you do can be woven into a narrative that drastically changes, thanks to the Storyteller engine. Each action you take is punctuated by flushing the black and white environment with color, illustrating your progress and providing clues to what your future might hold.
The paragraph below contains small story spoilers.
Basically, you can choose how your future unfolds. Whether it be by giving your girlfriend a flower, or going onto a dock and skipping rocks, all of these choices lead you to one of the many different outcomes. I've played through it three times (blindly) and learned that you always end up becoming old and dying.
Currently, there isn't a whole lot to do, but I definitely do expect lots of things to come in its full release. I may even revisit it for a brand new review. If you'd like to check out this title for yourself or want to buy it, you can go over to its Steam page. It's currently $10.99 (CAD).
One of the main features in Reflections is its deeply thought narrative. It is incredibly well written, for what is there, as it is Early Access. The end bit where it explains how you, the player, are on your deathbed, looking back at your past, you might have some regrets (that's a part of the whole 'choose your own ending' thing) but you'll also have some stuff that you wish you could go back and relive. Did I almost tear up and actually think of what I've done with my life after playing through it 3 separate times? Most definitely. It really got to me.
Once you get past the depressing side, it makes it a lot easier to play through it different times. There're many different stages that will hold different things for you. One could be incredibly depressing, whereas the next could be an incredibly satisfying experience. It's all up to the way you start the game.
Sound & Visuals
Well, for starters, there isn't much in the sound department. There are a few records that you can put into a record player and play, but there is no ambience besides nature and footsteps, which isn't a huge problem but it still would be nice to have some sort of music whilst you're wandering a forest. Other than that, the main menu's music is really nice, and the tracks that are available are pretty nice as well.
As for visuals, the game is gorgeous. You, the player, go around and everything you touch gains colours, which is great. I found myself actually spending around 15 minutes painting my entire house (in the game of course) with different colours. It felt really immersive. There is one problem with Reflections visuals, though. Everything seems to have a black outline around it, which started to hurt my eyes after a bit. Overall, great visuals though.
Reflections is one of those very, very simple walking-simulator-esque games and the controls were simple as well. Reflections does this really well, though. It's not incredibly boring, as there is a main objective that you work towards, but at times it did feel a little boring just wandering around aimlessly in one stage. There are no deadly encounters, as this is a narrative exploration, so you don't have to worry about that. As for what you really do in the game, it's quite simple. The most I could do was throw horseshoe rings onto a metal pole, but there are other things you can interact with. Such as, in my playthroughs, I was able to build a deck in the back of the house, skip rocks, throw horseshoe rings, throw a basketball in a hoop, but those are just what I encountered. I'm more than certain in the various other outcomes you'll be able to do much more.
Does this game have the best gameplay? No, but it definitely does not have the worst. Keep in mind that there are several different endings, so there is a lot of replayability you can gain out of this. Just make sure to check every nook and cranny for anything. It also helps to pack different things in the moving box provided at the front door at the start of each new game. Oh, and, memorize the number on the fridge, just in case.
The environments in Reflections are pretty good looking, to say the least. You can tell for what's in the early access that Broken Window Studios definitely did put a lot of thought into the detail, and it was fun exploring the 3 different stages I had, even though two of which were the house. There are some places that I noticed that were locked, and I couldn't get access due to the developers working on adding them to the game, which will be fun to explore once the game is fully finished.
Do keep in mind that if you're not a very patient person and prefer a more fast-paced game, this is most definitely not recommended for you. This is very much a real-life simulator. You can be in an office, doing office work, or you can be exploring a campground, or you can be simply redecorating your house.
In my honest opinion, this is the best-worst game I've ever played. You'll find yourself replaying it a bunch of times just to see what the next stage holds, and then you'll be hit with the same, semi-depressing ending of dying and wanting to reflect. It actually made me want to reflect on my own life. The gameplay is very relaxed, and I think with the full release I'll be able to fully review it, but for now, this is all I have to say.
|+ Great, relaxed gameplay||– Little content|
|+ Unique graphics||– Kind of depressing|
|+ Fairly linear|
|+ VR Support|