I find that puzzle games can be the most unique videogames these days. They tend to offer the most freedom and leniency to what exactly makes them a puzzle game. The puzzle game is also the most versatile genre, considering you can add puzzles into basically any other genre. Pulse was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and the game has been released with generally positive feedback from the community. I finally got around to playing the game, and I’m glad I did.
You play as Eva, a young girl who lost her sight. However, she gained the ability to see around her by using sound. Her unique gift allows her to navigate around a dense magical forest. She is not alone, though – the spirits of the forest assist her with various dangers found in their forest.
The story is pretty good. It is told through various text loading screens and cutscenes as you proceed through the game. It does have that incredibly similar “I can relate to this character and oh god why do I appear to have feelings” vibe that many indie games these days have (Ori and the Blind Forest, Child of Light, Never Alone etc). That shouldn’t imply that this game isn’t unique. To be blunt, this is easily in my top five list of most unique games this year.
As Eva, you will use the sound of footsteps and various environmental noises to illuminate the colorful world around you. Every area has their own sounds and each give Eva a different way of seeing the world. The soundtrack and visuals are something to really marvel at from this indie developer. The way you can interact with the world you are exploring through only sound is an entertaining experience.
The colors resonate with each sound, creating an experience I have not yet found in a game. Sometimes, I wonder if this is how Daredevil sees. Part of me really enjoys the parallel of someone not being able to see, but sees colors more vividly because they are unhindered by a previous ignorance of “seeing is believing”. The other part of me wishes this game had more to offer other than this one gimmick. A well developed gimmick, but the game is kind of a one trick pony.
Exploration is rather fun in this game, the entire gameplay is centered around Eva’s ability to see, figuratively speaking. However, Pulse‘s shortcomings come from a lack of varied gameplay to keep you invested and it is far too short. But Pulse still has a lot to offer despite being hindered by bringing a new mechanic to the gaming world. I really admire this game’s uniqueness, and plenty of people should. Pulse is a solid puzzle game for anyone on Steam who wants to play something different, but safe.