Posted on 05 May 2016 by Tomer S.

Drizzlepath: Genie

The Defence

Developer: Tonguç Bodur
Publisher: Tonguç Bodur
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
Platform: PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 22 Feb 2016

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.0 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 740
AMD Radeon HD 7750
RAM: 6 GB
HDD: 4.3 GB
DirectX: 10
Controller: Partial
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 980
AMD equivalent
RAM: 6 GB
HDD: 4.3 GB
DirectX: 11
Controller: Partial
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

Drizzlepath: Genie grasped me at first with its looks and fancy trailers. Seeing this brought hope to the franchise, a chance to remake, rethink and redo what the first Drizzlepath missed. The original game had its highs and lows so expecting improvements wasn’t a tall ask for the sequel.  The end result was quite a surprise.

The Trial

Drizzlepath: Genie is a walking simulator at its core. Following a girl on her mystical quest to find the “Genie”, she must choose between 2 paths that set the story, red or blue. As you walk the path that you have chosen you will find all kinds of strange artefacts and ruins scattered throughout the island. In the world of  Drizzlepath there are 2 formalities of people, what makes the protagonist “Lula” special is that she’s a little mix of both, hence she’s been chosen to fulfil the quest of the island.

Still got a long path to travel.

This game was an experience which I was not expecting. You must travel the island which you live on by crossing mountains, caves, fields and other scenery that you can find along the way. Each of these sceneries are split throughout the game as you walk on a linear path that you have chosen. In the beginning of the game you get to choose between 2 paths, blue or red. Picking a path will lay out the rest of the game for you. What you will see, hear, and walk to will all be determined by this abrupt choice. I say abrupt because nothing really hints at what lies beyond but in the end you find that one path was wrong and the other was right.

After picking a path, you start walking the long road while listening to Lula’s thoughts going through her head. There is no sprint, there are no shortcuts, you just walk and enjoy the scenery. As the rain drops down from the clouds above and the god rays shine from behind the giant mountains all around you, you feel isolated and calm. Though it’s not all fun. The roads are just so bland to the point where if you accidentally turn around you would think you’re walking in the right direction because everything looks exactly the same. Excluding the very far in between ruins that you can see while on your way, there really isn’t anything to see. There are trees, bushes and more trees. The game is so linear that it makes walking the path a drag. It doesn’t help that the game doesn’t give you anything to work with, no interactions with objects, no secrets or anything of the sort to find. Nothing to push you to play further.

Overall, the story is average at best. It is also confusing at points. You don’t feel any connections between the characters. The story is hard to understand from just narration told every once in a while when the player hits a checkpoint. Since you never really talk to anyone or interact with anything until the final cutscene it falls short on having that nice rich depth to it that makes or breaks this sort of game. A walking simulator without a good story is just you walking along on the island for no apparent reason.

Textures are pretty muddy but still a lovely view.

The game when first launched had horrifically terrible problems with performance, missing textures and other issues. While after a heap of patches some of these problems are fixed, the game still runs poorly on high settings and still has problems in a lot of areas. You can see pretty HD textures around but as soon as you look at the mountains far away all that is wrapped in very poor and muddy textures. Atmospherically the sound at first might draw you into the vibe of an adventure game but soon it gets repetitive and can lead you to turning it off altogether.

The Verdict

Drizzlepath: Genie is a walking simulator that tries to build up a deep story in its own little bubble of a world, yet it falls short on most aspects of a basic narrative driven game. With extreme performance issues, a bland world and an uninteresting story this is a game to walk past.

Case Review

  • Calming: It feels relaxing playing for a short amount of time.

  • Slow Paced: Without a controllable sprint button the game can be really slow in certain areas.

  • Performance Issues: The game runs terribly unless you turn the settings way down even on a capable PC.

  • Bland: Not much to see other than a few houses and ruins here and there.

  • Lifeless: The game feels dead, nothing goes on other than the very average storyline.

1.5 Score: 1.5/5
Drizzlepath: Genie had a lot of potential to become an exceptional game but ended up being just boring.

Evidence

  • Video: A decent selection of options here including resolution and distance scaling, though unfortunately you can’t upscale these settings. Notably you can select the intensity of motion blur or turn it off altogether.
  • Audio: Game lets you adjust the volume for music, voice or effects separately or just change the master volume.
  • Controls: Just muse controls. You can either invert or adjust the sensitivity of each axis individually.
  • Game: Interestingly the controls reside under the gameplay settings but you can’t customise them. Here you can also select the subtitles and enable or disable the head swaying.
2 Score: 2/5

The allegation ‘not a game’ is thrown around a lot these days, with so-called “walking simulators” being the most common to earn such a moniker. A trend I have long argued against, in favour of judging a game on its own terms, so as to explore how well it achieved the goals it set out to conquer. Bearing that in mind, Drizzlepath: Genie is honestly…not (much) of a game. It offers gameplay in on the most liberal interpretations of the word. Even going so far as to have an Auto-Walk command which left me feeling more like I was watching one of those interactive YouTube videos that allow you to explore a three dimensional view instead of playing a game.

Ostensibly, it presents itself as a light exploration game, with a linear path to the top of a mountain. But diverging from the path leads to…nothing, or sometimes leaves you trapped in a dead end that you weren’t supposed to enter, with invisible walls all around you and a chapter reload as you only means of escape.

In short, Drizzlepath is more than a bit pants. It looks really, very pretty, but it runs so horrendously that it feels more like an exercise in frustration and boredom than anything. It feels very much like there is a profound, moving concept here, butlers ring to get out. And perhaps it has even succeeded, in its own way. But with some very odd line deliveries and dialogue so obtuse it transcends even my level of pretentious, faux profundity. Trying to puzzle out what that message may be is a task for more patient minds than I.

2 Score: 2/5

Video games can be art. Journey, Shadow of the Colossus, Braid, The Witness, they’re all beautiful games that touch something human in us that makes them “art”. Drizzlepath: Genie tries really hard to be art, but it’s not, it’s a walking simulator in the spirit of Dear Esther.  During your walk you’ll see a world of exceptional beauty and listen to soothing classical scores, but other than that all you’ll be doing is holding forward.

From the start the narrator tells you that an evil wizard has cursed you with an inability to run, and you will feel the full weight of that seemingly insignificant curse throughout the game.  The narrator, music, and scenery pull you into the world, and the pauses between each line or song are perfectly paced out to let you admire the beauty around you. But admiring is all you can do. There’s essentially one button in Drizzlepath besides the 360 movement, and that button is for jumping. There’s no run button, no interact button, no “do the thing” button, just jumping and walking.

Games can be art, but as where traditional art hangs on a wall and looks pretty, games require some kind of direct interaction from the player. That’s what makes them games. Drizzlepath: Genie is absolutely a game, and Tonguc Bodur did an admirable job making a game all by himself, but all that effort doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good.

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Comments (3)


Posts: 341
L Coulsen
Posted 07 May 2016, 12:06
Good one XD

Posts: 53
Stephen Haselden
Posted 07 May 2016, 11:45
Desktop background emulator?

Posts: 341
L Coulsen
Posted 06 May 2016, 21:52
Ouch