“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” – Sir David Attenborough
Recollection is a beautiful walking simulator and relaxing puzzle game that takes a look at nature and our environment. It is a short game that costs less than a fiver with 10% of the proceeds going to environmental charities.
Developer: Erkberg Games
Released: 17th April 2023
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Gameplay and Narrative -Natural Mode
Recollection starts with natural mode in which the player moves forward past a series of shrinking monuments and tries to find hidden objects. Each one leads to a minigame or puzzle that usually exists in a number of stages that get increasingly complex. These involve creating something natural and include tasks like colouring in the moon with light, amalgamating clouds or doing a dot-to-dot with constellations. As these tasks are completed the things being created appear in the otherwise barren world, gradually creating a full and lively landscape.
Natural mode is very laid back and relaxing with the minigames feeling almost meditative. Once it has been completed ‘something more’ is unlocked which consists of eleven more hidden objects to be found, Additionally, chapter selection and ‘fragile mode’ are unlocked.
Gameplay and Narrative – Fragile Mode
Fragile mode works in much the same way as natural mode but is much less light-hearted and has a deeper message about the environment, the music is also noticeably more sombre. The main differences include a glitch effect that switches the world between two different states and added difficulty to the puzzles. Each minigame has an extra man-made element added to work against the player’s objective and add an extra layer of challenge. For example, while amalgamating clouds several planes fly through the sky with the potential to damage progress. While this mode is undoubtedly more demanding it’s worth noting that it does have a difficulty slider making it very accessible.
This mode is clearly making a statement about the state of our environment and encourages us to take action now. It is a poignant and powerful experience that is almost like a separate game to the natural mode which is much more casual in feel.
Recollection uses its audio and visual elements cleverly, working in tandem with the gameplay and overall message. The game starts with a simple silhouetted character on a barren purple background, with visual elements gradually being added as the different puzzles and mini-games are completed. These include clouds, mountains, animals, water and plants and they are added in semi-transparent layers giving a similar effect to modern watercolour painting in mostly monochromatic tones. Similarly, the audio starts with a single piano note playing repetitively, as the different environmental elements are added so are extra sounds, instruments and melodies until the overall sound is as full and rich as the landscape.
Recollection is a wonderful little game that will take about 1-1.5 hours to complete in its entirety. Its two modes give the player a choice between wholesome and easy-going or more dramatic and challenging and are both a lot of fun in terms of the gameplay. The minigames and puzzles are varied and interesting and tie into the beautiful visuals and audio seamlessly. Overall, this is a delightful yet moving experience that I’d happily recommend to a range of players.
A full playthrough of natural mode is available on the Indie Hive YouTube Channel:
If you liked this game about nature you might also enjoy these reviews:
Natural Instincts – Upcoming Nature Documentary Sim! – Atuel- A Surreal and Fascinating Interactive Documentary – Deer Journey – A Magical New Walking Simulator