Let’s take a look at – The Beginner’s Guide (Spoiler Free)

Thanks to better, more affordable tools, Indie development has never been so assessable. It’s easier than ever for people to take their idea and make it a reality. Access to various game engines, and the wealth of knowledge and assistance from the online community, have given us a plethora of games over the last few years that otherwise might not have been. Games that make us laugh, cry, and kill, but above all, they make us feel. While The Beginner’s Guide is fairly short, and lacks the sense of adventure we find in many games, it offers a look into the mind of a developer, and tells a deeply personal and powerful story that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

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The Beginner’s Guide was created by Davey Wreden, the mind behind The Stanley Parable.  I went in knowing a little about this game but it’s IMPORTANT that you do not read or research what this game is about before you play it. To have any part of the story spoiled will detract from the experience on offer. The game is a walking simulator, you don’t do a whole lot in terms of puzzle solving or fighting enemies, so spoilers are costly. Don’t let that deter you though, this game is really enjoyable.

Davey is the narrator during the roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes you’ll spend playing The Beginner’s Guide. He tells a story of a fellow “real life” developer and his attempts and journey through game design over a period of 4 years. It starts off simple enough to understand, but starts to take an emotionally charged turn where you, as the player, are starting to make your own deductions based on the levels you encounter, the environment and the narration. This is important as this game is all about interpretation. Yes, you will be given facts that are clear and make sense, but a lot of it is speculation on the player’s part. It’s fascinating because it’s a story of trying to understand a person through their art and creativity.

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You’re going to find a lot of reviews already praising this game for its powerful storytelling and pacing. It’s a game that makes you wonder, interpret and reflect on its protagonist. You may even reflect its meaning against your own life and experiences. It’s fascinating to see a game talk about a topic in such a personal way that you can’t help but draw parallels to your own personal feeling and experiences.

Some links that were provided to me really helped me understand this game and its meaning a little better. Not because I didn’t when I finished, but I wanted to know more. I’m not quite sure what to tell you here though. Do you watch the video and read the blog post first before you play? Well you certainly can, but I think it might give away the meaning of The Beginner’s Guide. If you watch it after, you may understand it all much better and want to go back to really pick up on every detail. I suppose it’s up to you, the player, but I honestly found this information extremely enlightening consuming it after I finished the game.

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Also, playing The Stanley Parable isn’t a bad idea as well because it may provide some insight that could be helpful…. and it’s really just a damn good game.  Really Good.

I’d recommend viewing these links after you finish, but it’s your call.

http://www.galactic-cafe.com/2014/02/game-of-the-year/

Click on* Playing Stories with Davey Wreden

http://livestream.com/accounts/6845410/gamesnow/videos/83818176

Tl:dr – The Beginner’s Guide has a strangely accurate but misleading title for those who have not played it.  It’s more of a story based game with no action and little puzzle solving. It’s a short game, clocking in at about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but is powerful and intriguing. You’ll spend your time learning something deep and personal about the main character in this game, and maybe something about yourself. Overall, don’t read spoilers and go in blind. It’s worth it.

Rating – 9/10

Purchase – Steam £9.99/$9.99

Trailer –

Let’s take a look at … – Kairo

Starting as a collaboration of world creations, Kairo is an impressive world explorer in which you the player navigate around the puzzling worlds as you uncover the true purpose of Kairo.

Created effectively by a one man team consisting of developer Richard Perrin, Kairo took over three years to fully complete with its Richard’s inspiration sourcing from a handful of abstract architects,“I looked at their work and wanted to create a world where you could explore the kind of places they had imagined”

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You are dropped into a highly atmospheric 3-D world and you instinctively begin to explore your surroundings. With the mix of atmospheric details such as fog and architecture that just twists your mind, the game quickly immerses the player with the aid of the fitting audio soundtrack.

The art style for Kairo is different yet clever, as based on a mix of abstract architecture, the player will find themselves in impossible environments filled with eye catching features such as distant lights and twirling particle effects. The art is simple yet fitting for the title as the basic colours; of which the worlds are constructed of; help the player to focus on the actual architecture of the worlds and the elaborate designs and secrets that they represent. However this does not mean there is no detail, as you can see (image above), the general terrain had minute details which help add the the immersion and general presentation of the world.

The movement of the character is simple; and therefore perfect for the style of game; as the player explores the world and attempt to unravel the encrypted story with no distractions such as weapons or other characters.

The in-game audio is an important factor of the title as the calming yet motivating soundtrack urges the player to explore the mysterious structures. I personally feel that without the soundtrack I think that the game would accommodate a horror like aspect to it, as you will be exploring the seemingly abandoned world in near silence

The game’s development had its fair share of ups and downs as all good titles do, Richard says that “The best points were probably taking it to exhibits like PAX and watching people play it, seeing others connect with the experience and then talking to them about it was very rewarding”

However it wasn’t all plain sailing, after the first year of development Richard found himself lacking the motivation and enthusiasm that he needed to continue on the project due to its time consuming nature, however he continued to further the game until it reached the finished status that it is at now.

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Whilst the game is at its mostly finished state, Richard is intending to update it with support for the newly funded Occulus Rift, as he thinks that “the game is perfect for the Occulus Rift”  And i cant help but agree, as i can only imagine the levels of immersion that would be capable with the Rift’s involvement.

Richard has also commented about a future development that is currently in progress called Journal, this is what he had to say, “It’s a very different game to Kairo, it’s still story based but at the opposite end of the spectrum.”

You can check out details and keep up to date with the development of Journal here –>

http://journal.lockeddoorpuzzle.com/

Kairo is currently priced at £4.99 on the Steam and Desura market.

Check it out here! -> http://store.steampowered.com/app/233230/ or http://www.desura.com/games/kairo

I think this is a okay price for the effort that has been put into the game, along with the great immersion levels and future Occulus Rift support. I think that it is a clever way of telling a story without the use of dialogue and think the pricing is fair for its enjoyable experience.

Overall I’m rating Kairo seven point five out of ten, as i find the game to be enjoyable and imersive, and I like the concept of telling a story through the use of the environment. However I can only see the game being played at the most two times as the main point of the game is to learn the story, So once you have familiarized yourself with the tale, there is no other objective to achieve.

Kairo – A game by Richard Perrin

@PerrinAshcroft

https://www.facebook.com/kairogame