Even the Ocean is currently half of a half-game

by: Jeff -

The last time Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka collaborated they made Anodyne- a Zelda-like meditation on escapism and nostalgia that was lauded by some for being a beautiful homage, and criticized by others for being incomprehensible. For the last year and a half, the pair have been working together again on Even the Ocean, which is, according to their TIGSource page, "Two thematically related and mechanically similar games, The Ocean and Even, present within the same game."

Even is named after the protagonist, an average woman living in a present-day seaside city. You'll play as Even, walking around her town and interacting with her neighbors; but the interesting part is that it's also a platformer where you explore Even's thought-processes and daydreams. I'm really excited to see how this is going to work, but sadly they haven't even begun working on it yet. They're waiting until they've completed the other half of their game, The Ocean, to nail down the platforming mechanics before working on Even.

The Ocean is not named after the protagonist, but is a sort-of-separate game that is one of Even's reoccurring dreams. You play as a woman named is Aliph, a mechanic that repairs powerplants around her own seaside city. The Ocean is a combatless platformer that has the player fight to maintain balance rather than generic zombie/robot/monsters. Instead of a health bar, you have a single energy meter. As you absorb purple and white energy, the bar fills to the left and right, respectively. White energy makes you run slower but jump higher, while purple energy makes you run faster, but not jump as high (don't ask me how the physics on that work, it's a dream). If you fail to maintain balance and the bar completely fills up in either direction, you die. You also have a shield that can block energy projectiles, as well as allow Aliph to perform some cool platforming stunts when she holds it under herself like a surfboard (again, it's a dream, don't ask why a mechanic has a shield).

I played through The Ocean's demo that's available through their website, and I enjoyed it immensely. It's obviously still pretty rough, but there's a great concept behind it. I love the perspective they take on the player's relationship to the environment to maintain a balance- especially when it's out of whack because you're on the cusp of death. I highly suggest you pick it up, it's got a lot of interesting things going on already, and I'm excited to see where this goes. There's a pay-what-you-want donation-gate before you can download it, but you don't have to give anything if you don't want. But, if you decide you like it after playing it, maybe throw a couple of bucks at them. If only to keep them from resorting to crowdfunding and Early Access.

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