A minimal world that speaks great volume
Everything about Olija is efficient, using the absolute minimum in art, sound, and narrative. It creates a vivid experience full of unease, intrigue and exciting battles.
Skeleton Crew Studio / Devolver Digital / Release: January 28 / Windows, PS4, XB1, SWITCH
The land is starving for lack of food, so Lord Faraday sets out on a fishing trip with his crew. A great storm erupts and a bad day becomes a worst one. Now shipwrecked, his crew scattered throughout the islands of Terraphage, Lord Faraday seeks to free them and escape this cursed land.
Nothing is explained to you by the game or the characters you meet. Yet you can piece together all the clues and small details to present you a rich tapestry of lore. The sound and art do an excellent job of introducing you to a land that feels empty. I’ve already mentioned the minimal art, and you can see it here, so let me praise the sound design for you.
The playtime will take you roughly 4-6hours, and in that short time, a surprising amount of events take place.
There are large swathes of the game that are devoid of music, making you feel uncomfortable. Creaking wood and the cold wind are your only companions. When music does come, it is a curious mixture of European flamenco and traditional Asian instruments. It’s haunting, beautiful and stands out after long periods of silence.
My favourite part of the experience has to be the combat, without question. It is simple, fast-paced and extremely satisfying. Boss battles were excellent moments that showcased how epic it can get, making me feel like a skilled warrior who knew what he was doing, zipping back and forth with attacks that had force behind them.