Interactive art translated into video game form is still not a common occurrence in today’s industry. My first foray into the genre was when I bought Linger In The Shadows four years ago today. Since then, I’ve been interested in the genre and get my hands on anything that falls in this category. When Marten Jonsson contacted us about his concept created for the 23rd Ludum Dare, I jumped on the opportunity to try it out.
In The Story of a World you are immediately introduced to an interactive piece of art. What you’re presented with is an empty world where you choose what happens to it. Some of the options you can choose from include the ability to add life such as humans and animals, colorful brush, forestation, clouds, mountains, and water. Depending on what you choose to add to the world will affect what you can and can’t add later on. For example, if you start building a lake and make it too big, you may then be unable to further progress in building objects such as mountains and trees.
In my first play-throughs I often reached a dead-end where I was greeted with a “the world can not progress any further screen”. Once I figured out the mechanics of the game I was then able to prolong my creations and see them evolve.
If you make the right selections you can then tap on a icon that evolves the world into something entirely different. By building a lot of trees and brush, I was able to push the world to evolve into Autumn. On another play through I built mountains first, then added water to create glaciers. In the trailer for the game I also noticed that you have the ability to create more eleaborate worlds such as numerous mountains with water dripping from each, and another world called “Cloud Imagination” where a castle-looking structure is built in the sky. In total there are 18 different combinations to evolve the world into.
You will also be able to keep track in how many evolutions of the world you unlocked at the main menu. In case you’re wondering what you may have missed, each of the six selections in which you alter the world with comes with three different possibilities. So for instance if you focus on lifeforms, there will be three different variations of worldly evolutions taken pertaining to them.
If you’re familiar with the game Star Sky, The Story of a World is the spiritual successor to it. Both games are relaxing and are meant to be taken at a slow pace and carefully explored. The Story of a World isn’t a game based on trying to appeal to gamers the way modern developers do. There’s no unlockables, or “levels” per say, instead, The Story of a World is more of an experience that you can choose to keep coming back to whenever you’d like.
In the end, The Story of a World isn’t going to be for everyone. If you appreciate art, and are even more excited about interactivity within it, then The Story of a World may be for you. Currently there’s a few odd design choices such as the 3-4 second audio clip that plays every time I choose a different menu, but the soundtrack overall fits the presentation of the game. One gripe I had with the game is that you can’t actually see the changes in the world play out. When you make a selection you get a bright light flashed before you and the objects are now there once the flash goes away. Every time I chose an object I caught myself squinting to relax my eyes and try and find what actually occurred in the world.
Currently you can grab the game on the App Store for only $0.99, down from it’s original price of $1.99! If you’d like to see some gameplay of The Story of a World check out the embedded trailer and gallery below.[review pros="Unique Concept, Endings Are Fun To Discover" cons="Odd Audio & Visual Choices" score=70]