Gibbon: Beyond the Trees isn''t a long game, but it''s about an hour long with the option of playing after it, and it''sn''t a complicated game either. I like to think of it as an endless swinger, in 2D. In the game, you swing and then release it to move through the air and keep your momentum going. It''s not that much, however, but it''s pretty easy to accomplish. Everything the game says, it''s based on those modest
Gibbon: Beyond the Trees gives a narrative of deforestation in the name of palm oil, as well as the horrid mega-fields of mono-crops grown to it. However, it does not preach, and that''s what I''m finding fascinating.
The main draw of the game is the momentum I mentioned above, and it''s amazing how instinctive this is. I think it''s a video game thing to want to move quickly and not be held up by obstacles, I think, as long as games have gone, and it''s exactly what Gibbon: Beyond the Trees does here.
You may swing, which is quite rapid, or you may swing, depending on the slope. Sliding is fastest, swinging second, but running slowest, thus you''re always looking for dips to slide in, but you''re always hesitant to take advantage of the risk-reward force of pulling them off, which, if you don''t, can maintain the swing button for too long and over-rotate at the end of a branch.
Slowing down may not be the world''s final destination, but it''s quite quick to get going again. Again, while that''s not a deal-breaker, you don''t die if you land on the ground, you''re not at your best when you''re down there, and you can truly feel it.
This is why the game teaches this gently before blending in a few more advanced moves, such as an assist, where you''re flung like a trapeze artist by your mother (I think she''s your mother) and a somersault, which, if you can fully rotate, rewards you for the assistance, and the somersault is limited to the task. However, there''s a lot of uncertainty involved in the game.
I find it useful to see how the game spoils you at the beginning of all of this, with the huge, enormous forest and its many branches to swing around, with the forest in full chorus around you, and your family swinging along, knocking juicy fruit off branches as you go - and your carefree, joyous move through it, and then how it begins to systematically take it away.
There''s now fire and ash and death, and you''re not swinging among the lone, charred palms, and they''re deadly quiet, as long as there''s no other type of movement there. In the end, you don''t have to move too much in the cars, especially since there''s been a moment in time when you were able to enter the forest.
So, the story progresses through palm oil and onto other hazards the gibbons encounter - I don''t want to spoil them all the time, especially when it comes to disseminating or modifying the environment around you. Despite the fact that some of the modifications may be fun, they''re never as fun or as natural and free, as the jungle once was. This is how Gibbon: Beyond the Trees illustrates.
I like it. It''s important to know that the joy of movement is inherent, making it difficult to explain itself or have explicit clutter. I like how it feels to play, and how it senses calm when you fall into its lolloping rhythm. I like how it reaches the conclusion: we can''t ignore a mechanic like we can a story.