Viewpoints

Viewpoint: Games that Relax Moods – Part II

Here’s our continuation of Games that Relax Moods: Part One folks. Remember to take it easy and relax to these games, once in a while.

5. Endless Ocean

Alright, as I have previously hinted there is another dolphin game in this ever-so tranquil list. Hence, this is it! Endless Ocean! It is sad to say, but Endless Ocean’s predecessor, Everblue did not make the cut because it was eclipsed by Ecco the Dolphin and his missing, kidnapped, and eaten sea friends. However, it is a beautiful thing Japanese game developer Arika persisted in furthering Everblue’s scuba diving adventures and released Endless Ocean for the Wii.

Endless Ocean (or Forever Blue if you reside in the Land of the Rising Sun) is essentially a videogame based on a group of scuba divers going for a splash under the deep blue depths and discovering the nooks and crannies of the “endless ocean”; looking for buried treasure and photographing exotic sea creatures, which could be quite dangerous because Disney’s Finding Nemo has ingrained it in my memory that cameras could knock a fish unconscious. But I for one have never scuba dived and caused severe brain concussion in a fish, so personally, I wouldn’t know. With that cautionary warning aside, Endless Ocean on the Wii and like every other Wii published videogame, it is connected to a motion-sensor that allows the players to use an on-screen cursor to guide the divers. Just remember, “It’s not a lake, it’s an ocean” meaning that you are no longer on top of the food chain once submerged under the deep, so watch out for those gnashing teeth and erected fins.

4. Cloud

When are clouds not relaxing? Oh, don’t answer that. Thanks to the University of Southern California (or So-Cal) students, everyone can now experience a day in the life with clouds. Cloud was designed and released by seven smarty-pants students in their efforts to produce a rewarding video-game during their Interactive Media Arts Master. It was published in 2005 and was released as a free downloadable game. Of course, nothing sounds better than a beautifully crafted free videogame. It didn’t take that long for Cloud to draw attention, and it had drawn the right one because it won the Best Student Philosophy award for artistic achievement at the Slamdance Guerilla Games Competition. By 2006, it received 600,000 download hits and 6 million visits – not bad, not bad.

Cloud’s plot was fairly creative, but like in all videogames, a plot does not necessarily constitute the whole worth of the game. More importantly, what counts is visually tying in the plot with the gameplay. Cloud was able to transcend beyond the typical aesthetics and gameplay, and if there is anyone out there that disagrees, well human please, it’s best to smack-talk elsewhere. I do despise smack-talkers. Just a fair warning for anyone thinking of gunning-down Cloud with their abrasive insults, I have heard several cases where smart-mouthing alecs have been severely incapacitated; some had their intestinal organs tied into an origami-like platypus whilst others had their incisor teeth removed and used for an Indonesian voodoo hair-growing potion – not really. In all seriousness, it is unimaginable to debrief Cloud as a lousy independent game because it gives everything you could possibly ask for in a free game: killing your time with sheer fulfillment. Go forth and conquer the sky.

3. Osmos

When I was in 7th grade I was tortured with extensive hours of microcosm biology; a smorgasbord of microscopic cells in mitosis endlessly splitting and fusing into another like blowing bubbles. So when I stumbled upon Osmos and found out that I can actively participate in this wonderful process of being a cell, I knew I had hit the motherload. You see, gandering at cells proliferating into tiny bits and pieces and having to watch that production reverse is not enough for me to wholly keep my lids peeled open. The only way I could possibly stay up watching a documentary on amoebas devouring protozoa and bacteria is if the producer precipitously scattered googly-eyes on the amoebas as a lazy after-effect.

Well what can I say? I am no longer in 7th grade, so I can’t really whine about the dragging cell videos. And if I further pick at it, I am just sullying the name of Science, and that wouldn’t be so benign. In light of it all, Osmos will not bore you, but will carry you into a velvety cellulose backcloth; almost making you feel like a jellyfish undulating in jazzy waves. With an award-winning soundtrack, Osmos boasts a mesh of atmospheric and electronic soundscapes that would reel players into the infinitesimal existence of single-celled organisms.

2. Flower

Developed by thatgamecompany with the help of Nicholas Clark and Jenova Chen, Flower bloomed into an eye-catching ethereal indie game. The video-game was first released on February 12, 2009 in the PlayStation Network. It solidly gained a handful of followers after its release. As expected, since thatgamecompany has previously released flOw, a video-game much similar to Flower which initially skyrocketed thatgamecompany’s insoluble reputation into a distinguished name in the rapid industry of indie video-games. And no doubt, Flower is the spiritual successor of flOw and more. Upholding the same concept in gameplay as flOw, Flower provides a serene landscape to unreservedly maneuver around in without having to worry about austere demands and objectives. The goal is just to simply play and that is all.

What separates Flower from flOw is the wider-terrarium setting filled with rolling-green pastures emblazoned with countless flowers. The fundamental simplicity of both games remain intact but Flower has grown beyond waif-like cellular organisms oscillating through plasma. Flower pumps a brand new experience outside of the cell by letting players take-on massive grass fields; wielding the untainted dint of nature, the wind. The title may seem a little misleading because it probably conjected an idea of gardening for the most of us, but even if it was about a remedial hobby like gardening, it would still be a delightful peppy game. In light of it all, the game has nothing to do with floriculture whatsoever. But it has something to do with fauna! Players will seize control or better yet, be the wind themselves. As they ramble about the prairies, flower petals will be swept along as the players continue to glide through different areas. Flower is a sure way to have yourself loosen-up after being aggrieved by shrilly-kids in Call of Duty.

1. A Boy and His Blob

Can you say throw back? A Boy and His Blob dates back to the days of the NES. It didn’t gain much deserved applaud and finger-snaps back then, but it certainly deserves a standing ovation now. This lively light-spirited platform game was released in 2009 for the Wii. WayForward Technologies revamped this antique ‘beaut’ to fit modern adventure games. Unlike remastered editions, the Wii version for A Boy and His Blob has been dramatically molded to the finest details, such as visually allowing the audience to see the transformation of our cheek-pinching cute blob. Each magical transformation happens whenever the protagonist, the boy, feeds his hodgepodge mate some jelly beans. This induces the blob to transform into various helpful obstacle-conquering objects, such as ladders, transportation holes, and etc.

Ultimately, without the blob, the boy would be a goner before he could even learn how to utter, “Oh my dear!” It’s called A Boy and His Blob for a good gosh darn reason. Both characters must forthwith combine their abilities in order to overcome the puzzles incorporated in each level. Imagine you are just a brain in a vat attached to a bio-mechanical vocal speaking box, which enables you to yell commands to your ever-loyal silver unicorn. A Boy and His Blob takes after the same said concept. Even if an enemy slightly brushes up the boy, he would inevitably die, and that is why he has his fateful blob by his side so both can conquer these troublesome pests.

That sums up this round of relaxing videogames! I hope you enjoyed, dear reader.

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One comment

  1. I have known about flower for sometime and when i saw the game i couldnt help but feel not just peaceful and relaxed but i also felt inspiration from it because of how colorful it is.

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