Reunion


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KarmenReunionFar off in a dreamy land, tiny spots of light coax a little sleepwalking boy to follow his lost kitty. Never mind the fact that the little spots of light were what frightened the kitty away in the first place... Reunion, a gentle platform game by Mike Bithell, is a delightful journey full of good intentions and imaginary figments.

With soft music, and a landscape that seems to be cut from lace and paper, the game has a soft, artistic feel that might remind you of Ferry Halim's Orisinal games. However, the similarities end there. While Orisinal games are usually small scaled and quick to load, Reunion features an elaborate maze, with intensive layered graphics which may test the limits of slower computers. Before the maze, there is a movie-like, playable introduction, in which you collect the lights, using a flying musical note.

Navigation through the maze can seem a little tricky at first. Using the mouse, you can control the flying beams of light, guiding the boy to sleepwalk, skip, and jump across the dim landscape. The game will direct you to "draw a line" in order to do this, but the actual mechanism is a bit more complex. Click anywhere on the screen and drag the flying leader light a short distance. The other lights will line up in that direction. Moving the leader along the line will determine how quickly the boy moves, or how far he jumps. For instance, to make a large jump, draw a diagonal line away from the boy, bringing the cursor to the last light on the line, then release.

As you move along, follow the kitty, who will probably bounce right off the screen. Watch out for parades of leaves, traveling on gusts of wind; these will send you back a distance. Don't worry about getting lost, however. If you lose sight of the cat, or lose your way, the spots of light will form an arrow, suggesting the direction to travel.

Analysis: In general, I found Reunion to be a very relaxing and pleasant game to play. After playing about halfway through, the constant click-and-drag motion began to tire my hand. I found that using the touchpad on my laptop was, surprisingly, much easier. (This is coming from someone who hates the touchpad.) With simple taps and touches, the touchpad seemed appropriate for the leisurely pace of the game.

It is certainly a beautiful game. But is it worth closing all your other programs to play? Only the fastest computers will be able to handle multitasking while playing this game. There is no way to save your progress, so if you need to check something else, you either have to lose your place, or be very patient. Also, the surprises and bonuses in the game are few and far between. It ends quietly, with little fanfare (and long credits.) In most games, these would be frustrating drawbacks. With a sleepy, bedtime theme, the would-be-drawbacks in Reunion seem to work.

This game makes an excellent respite for the end of the day, like an interactive bedtime story. I would recommend playing this game after you've closed everything down for the night and gotten into your PJ's. Then let Mike Bithell's soft and gentle Reunion send you off to the land of Nod.

Play Reunion

19 Comments

If I had to sum this up in one word, it would be "tedious." In the beginning the whole challenge is simply figuring out the controls (never a good thing in my book). Then when you actually have to execute your jumps carefully, one misstep sends you into a leafstream and brings you *all* the way back to the beginning of the section. I stopped playing after a particularly long backtrack because the game just doesn't offer anything in return for patience and perseverance. Or maybe it does and I just haven't gotten there yet. But the gameplay itself is so deadly dull and the controls so needlessly complex that it's actualy more fun to not play the game than it is to play.

The visuals are nice, I guess, but that just doesn't cut it for me. Way too many drawbacks.

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I gve up after about four, five minutes.

The game's too dark, for my screen anyway. Brightness and contrast on full, and I still could hardly see anything. I had to manually increase the gamma setting of my videocard drivers to be able to make anything out. That I have to increase gamma for certain fullblown high end games is fine. But for a simple webgame? come on!

Also, on a athlon 64, 3.2+ with 1 gb of memory... it feels slow, unresponsive, laggy.

That said... I also have my doubts about a tuba player, in the middle of night, turning off any bright lights, looking for a kid who sleeps through getting hit by the music, and lightballs, and then taking the kid out of his bed by the use of magical lights. Sounds fishy.

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yeah, I got it! Nice game, very calm, but took me while to get trough the maze even I had just a little contact with the leafstream. One might ask oneself during the game: when does it end...! The ending is a little bit boring, after all the way. If you have to much time, as me, play it!;-)

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Ezrabbit Author Profile Page May 18, 2007 6:49 AM

100% agreement with Suho1004.

I'm all in favor of gentle Orisinal-like games but this thing goes on and on with no way to break the tedium. And those leaf-streams just create tedium on repeat.

Pretty, but not a winner in my book.

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The graphics and the lighting are beautiful, but apart from that, I have to agree with Suho1004, too.

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Wow...I gave up after trying to spin that darn note for five minutes. My track ball doesn't work well with games like this.

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fuzzboxer May 18, 2007 9:36 AM

Let me give a word of advice to save some frustration: for those jumps where the leaf stream is overhead, get to the edge and choose a jump power of about 4.5.

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Very Liked it at first. Played 15 minutes, than got VERY bored, and yes to be pulled back is a test of patience and furstration.

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GuidoTheGreat Author Profile Page May 18, 2007 1:18 PM

All in all I thought it was a good game. There were only about 4 or 5 tricky jumps all of which seemed to be accompanied by the longest possible leafstreams.

The ending gave me a bit of chuckle. :)

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Very pretty game, but I must be absurdly slow as I walked and jumped about the maze, but dead ended just as I saw the kitty again for the first time. I understand how to jump and move, but for the life of me couldn't see how to get up (I managed one floor up through a narrow hole, but further semed to require more jump power than I had)

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VT: You can jump through horizontal (flat) barriers on the way up, but not on the way down. You can't jump through vertical (standing) barriers at all. Thus if you are standing beneath a horizontal barrier and jump straight up, you will jump up a level. But be careful if you are jumping diagonally--you can pass through horizontal barriers with no problem, but if you hit a vertical barrier mid-jump you will fall back down at that spot. Logically speaking, it seems an arbitrary choice, but in terms of gameplay I suppose I can see why it was made.

Still, I can't be bothered to play it. I just comment on it. :)

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the compulsory introduction was too boring and tiring for me. Is there no way to skip it?
Nice lighting effects as you move the cursor.

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cMonster May 20, 2007 8:49 AM

I'm stuck on the tutorial.
I can't get past the "spinning and throwing" thing.

I keep spinning it, but nothing happens.
What am I supposed to do?

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Thanks Yow! I was able to complete it. In one go, actually, without falling on the leaves but two or three times.

I really, really wanted to like this game. The opening sequence is lovely (though I agree, the spinning thing is awkward and a bit irrelevant). The difficulty is non-existant, mostly consistenting of trying to understand the controls. But this can be fine, if it's a nice, meditative game.

It IS nice and meditative for the first five to ten minutes. But nothing really changes until

you start breaking through the clouds. But the music stays the same, the maze the same and the gameplay the same. The spiders appear briefly, which was interesting, then again, it's back to trundling along in the maze.

There is a lot to like in this game. I am a huge fan of Ferry Halim, and love simple, cheerful games like this. But like a first draft of a book, this game needs serious editing, or (more ambitiously) more added to the maze so new things are seen every minute or so (first easy fix, allow a game save)

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I miss my kitty. :(

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This game is very pretty and very cute, but I would have liked a way to skip the inroduction the second time through. The music was very uninspiring, and the maze was an exercise in tedium.

I loved the addition of the spiders, but there were only about three of them. And then the upside down sections and the moving leaf things were interesting, but not used enough.

There was no excuse for this game to run slowly. I'm on a P4 with an ATI X1650pro card and 1gb of ram. It also ran just as slowly with the quality on low as it did on high, which tells me that it was just not put together well, design-wise.

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well well well... what can i say about this game? it's soooo beatiful and relaxing!! i love it!! great post Jay!!!! im addicted, though the way i make him him (the drag thing) is really annoying. there is a reason i have the arrows on this computer and the touch pad method is (for me) is a bit harder. BUT!!! i would reccomend this to anyone as it's so relaxing and the music is gentle enough to put a baby to sleep!! ***** 5 stars all the way! =D

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i looked online and i don't think this site exists anymore

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The link to play the game doesn't work anymore.

[Thank you for notifying me about this. I'm working on tracking down the author of the game to see if the game is available anywhere else. -Jay]

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