A Journey Through Dreams
Arrog by Playdigious, a beautifully crafted indie game for Android, will take you on an artistic journey through time. Tap and drag your way through a hand-drawn dreamscape to solve puzzles and tell a profound story about life and the mind. The developers play with our sense of space and light. The game is almost entirely black and white, allowing for bold imagery. Accompanied by immersive sound design and music, Arrog is more art installation than video game.
To be more precise, it’s time to meet your maker. That’s right. This game begins at the end. Or perhaps it’s the beginning. But that may be for you to decide. You witness the sad death of an old soul during a harrowing storm. But guided by the constellations in the night sky, fate reveals that there is magic beyond the grave. This game plays much like a movie or a story. Puzzles and clues await in every scene. Using memory and intuition as your guide, you will learn that your soul is an integral part of history.
Okay, enough with the philosophical embellishments. Why don’t we dissect this archaic language? Most of the gameplay in Arrog involves moving objects across the screen to either complete a shape or pattern. However, there truly isn’t all that much actual gameplay, as you’ll spend most of your time watching the scenes unfold once you complete each challenge. You receive no guide or explanation of the controls or mechanics, but once you tinker around with each puzzle, they’re quite easy to figure out. Needless to say, it’s an entertaining sensory experience, but not all that challenging.
A keen memory will come in handy for some of the puzzles. The most difficult challenges involve sequential pattern identification, and these make wonderful use of sound and color. You’ll need to remember the order of colors and shapes as you unlock openings on a great castle, or try to recall a melodic progression in order to play a guitar-like instrument. These challenges are the only ones that give little hints along the way. But they disappear quickly, so keep a sharp eye out. There is no way to fail or lose the game, which is helpful yet also makes success feel a bit less rewarding than it would if the stakes were higher.
Arrog seems to hint that we have a deep connection with the Earth and all life around us. The artwork depicts ancient settlers navigating the natural landscape and pushes the limits of the imagination, inspiring us to embrace the power of our mind. And I can’t go without mentioning the amazing capybaras that walk upright or the guinea pig who lives in a lighthouse in the sky. The intertwined narratives of human and animal life encourages us to respect our furry and feathery friends, to love their way of life just as much as our own. Or maybe this is just my elevated vegan consciousness communing with the great cosmos. Either way, the plot and imagery is rather abstract, leaving a lot open for your own interpretation.
Let go of your expectations that this will be a typical video game experience. While each individual artistic element was impressive, I was disappointed by the overall playthrough. I sat down and intentionally took my time with each puzzle to appreciate the art and audio, and still ended up completing the game in 30 minutes. I wish the puzzles were a bit more challenging as well. Perhaps the threat of failure would have added some much needed excitement. On the other hand, this game makes for a great casual family activity or a relaxing dose of artistic inspiration.
Overall, I have to hand it to the crew at Playdigious for putting together such a beautiful sensory experience. This small gang of indie developers each took on multiple roles in the production process. They certainly have a bright future ahead of them if they keep up the great work.
Is It Hardcore?
Arrog by Playdigious, a beautifully crafted indie game for Android, will take you on an artistic journey through time. Tap and drag your way through a hand-drawn dreamscape to solve puzzles and tell a profound story about life and the mind.