Simogo (creators of Year Walk and Device 6) have a newish game… that’s not a game. And somehow, in this case, less really is more.
A Sailor’s Dream allows the player to explore tiny houses or ruins on six different ethereal islands to piece together a story about a little girl, her mother, and a sailor. You can sweep over the ocean by sliding your finger across the screen, enjoying the music by Jonathan Eng, or peek inside places like the lighthouse to find the rusty key and the empty frame.
Simogo describes the game as
A peaceful narrative experience, in which the only objective is to satisfy your curiosity. Explore an ocean dream world, in which time passes even when you are not there, visit forgotten islands and piece together memories – some even existing beyond the screen of your device.
And that’s pretty much a perfect description. I can’t say that it’s puzzle-less interactive fiction because there is definitely a story you’re trying to figure out. It’s obstacle-less interactive fiction in the sense that there is no winning or losing. There is just confusion or understanding.
It is my favorite part of the day; when everything is done and I can sit down and visit my islands. It feels like I’m going somewhere even though I’m on my living room sofa. I love the glass bottle that bobs up every day with a message song featuring Stephanie Hladowski. I’ve gone back to listen to her sing “A Good Life” about a dozen times.
I don’t really want to tell you any part of the story because part of the joy is finding each clue on your own, but I can tell you that if you can’t get to the beach, spending a half hour with A Sailor’s Dream is the next best thing. It will make your heart ache while it simultaneously makes you hopeful that there are still gorgeous, unique games to be made.
A side note: I wanted to show my kids the story from the beginning but couldn’t find the reset button. The game makers clued me in that you can reset the app from the general app settings section of your phone vs. the app itself.
I keep thinking about this game even when I’m not playing. What games have stolen your heart and imagination this month that I should try next?