[Together]


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Rating: 3.9/5 (105 votes)
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joyeTogether screen 1Ah, another perfect day. Sitting on a cliff. Letting the breeze blow through your bright pink hair. Then you hear the distant rumble of some kind of black hellspawn chasing your boyfriend. Well, just put out your hand and fly away with him in [Together], One Mr. Beans's entry in our 8th Casual Gameplay Design Competition that took third place overall. Explore up to the farthest reaches of space and down to the abyss in search of hearts. Gotta catch 'em all! And, y'know, not get eaten. That's important too.

To accomplish these two goals (get hearts, don't be food), you'll be using your trusty cursor. The boy and girl will chase the cursor. The closer the cursor is to the edge of the game window, the faster they fly. Obviously, when you sight the vapor trail of a heart, you're going to want to fly as fast as you can after it. There are many layers to the world, each with its own kind of heart. Hold the [spacebar] to check which hearts you've got and how many you have left to catch. Competition 3rd place award winnerBut don't get too relaxed, because there's that aforementioned smoke creature after you. When he's cramping your style, simply swirl your cursor in a circle around your couple, causing them to spin in a tight circle. Apparently terrors of shadow can't stand tight circles. Add that to your notes; that's the kind of thing that might come in handy someday.

Analysis: When it was first uploaded to the competition, many players complained that the hearts were too hard to catch and that the beast wasn't scared off long enough by spinning. Don't lose hope! If you're just patient, the hearts will slow down, so if you're getting frustrated by a heart, sail around for a while exploring and when you try again, the heart should be easier. This is the kind of game that's supposed to be about freedom, about exploring the heights and the depths with no limits, not about tossing your mouse across the room because once again a heart wiggled out of your reach. If you tried the game and quit because of the difficulty, please give it another chance with a more patient outlook.

Together screen 2So where's the sandbox theme in a game about the big blue sky and the deepest ocean? A totally non-linear experience, in [Together] you can gather any heart in any order. In addition, the entire "map", so to speak, is open to you at once. If you want to go from the lowest level to the highest, twirl it on up. The reverse? Get down with your blue and pink colored selves. Despite the ever-present threat of the ashen monstrosity, the mood of the game, with its pastels and soothing music, is thoroughly relaxing. If there were a few more things to see in the game world, this would be the kind of game you could bliss out to and lose track of time. As it is, the emptiness means that after only a few minutes, you'll have seen everything there is to see and your only goal will be collecting the hearts.

Some players will find the ending of the game unhappy or an anticlimax. Others will adore it. There's as many possible interpretations as will fit in infinity's midpoint. Several good ones have already been advanced on the competition page. Why not play through the game and amaze us with your definitive answer?

AdamCAdamC - [Together] is a moving little piece of art that combines a frantic chase with open-world exploration. The game smartly presents itself (at first) as an experience without a goal, encouraging you to soar through the heights of the stratosphere, plummet to the deepest depths, and even meet infinity halfway. Only a small set of instructions warn you of the relentless smoke monster, which pushes you to always keep moving. While others found some gameplay mechanics frustrating, with good reason, I felt the challenge was worth the experience. Any easier and the message of love, pursuit, and loss may have been cheapened. [Together]'s ending may leave some a bit cold, and its interpretation of the competition theme may have been a little loose, but the amount of care obviously put into its creation along with its crisp polish kept me hooked right on through. [Together] is a wonderfully sad little game that completely deserves its high ranking place in our latest competition.

Play [Together]

31 Comments

Here's an essential hint for those lost in Infinity's Midpoint:

Hold down the mouse button and the arrow will soon point you in the direction of where to go next.

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It's really hard not to get frustrated with the game, however well-drawn and soothing it's supposed to be, when the heart in the Infinite Cosmos is nearly impossible to catch. It's too fast and doesn't slow down no matter how many times I twirled about. As soon as I start to even get the thing in my sights, I wind up losing it again because I have to fight off being eaten by the smoke monster thing.

I've been trying to catch this thing for maybe twenty minutes, and the only reason I haven't quit now is because it's the last one I need to "win". If anyone's got some kind of strategy that works for catching the Infinite Cosmos heart, I'd like to hear it.

I also understand that it's more about the journey than the destination with this game, but there reaches a point where the journey starts to feel more like a chore. And with a game where the mechanics are really simple (move the cursor; hold down mouse button to shoot forward), it can make a player's frustration worse than in a game where the control system is a bit more complex and where the obstacles towards attaining the game objectives are...well, fiercer, higher in number or even more complex than simply aiming the cursor in the direction you want your people to fly in.

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Cris: first off, make sure you are positioning your cursor as close to the edge of the game window for maximum speed. You will need that speed to catch the hearts. DONT GIVE UP. They really do slow down the longer you try.

Also, the last heart may not be the one you expect it is. Look at the style and color of the heart, then press and hold the [spacebar] to compare with the ones you already have.

The top heart is actually found inside the belly of the beast.

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To those having troubles.

  1. It's not the Infinite Cosmos heart that's the problem- I've gone after the thing early on in the game and caught it easily. The problem is that the difficulty of catching hearts in general increases with each heart you get. Doesn't matter which heart you've got left, that last one will be the most difficult.

  2. Most people who have played this will have figured it out by now, but the final heart is actually in the Belly of the Beast. You can get this heart at any time, but it's usually best to save it for last. It adds dramatic effect. I'm sure there's a practical reason too, but I can't think of one. Unless it has to do with catching the last heart.

  3. As Jay said, holding down the left mouse button in Infinity's Midpoint will cause the arrow to turn in a different direction. Follow that arrow to find... well, I'm not really sure what to make of it, really.

  4. If you're in Infinity's Midpoint, right-clicking and selecting Forward will cause you to skip to a screen called "Flying". I doubt that's a coincidence. If anyone can figure out how to get to this screen, please post it.

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    Oh, forgot to add my strategy for catching the final heart.

    Perseverance. There's no fancy trickity-trick or secret cheat that'll help you catch that last heart. The only way TO catch it is to just keep your cursor as close to the edge of the screen as possible so you're at top speed. You'll start to catch up to it eventually. If you MUST have a trickity-trick,

    then try getting parallel to the heart instead of coming up on top of it.

    I'm not sure why, but that seems to help me catch it faster.

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    Wolfgang: the screen that shows "[flying]" is the very first screen you see after the game loads.

    And the reason it's easier to catch a heart while flying horizontal is due to the dimensions of the game window. The cursor is farther away from the couple at the horizontal midpoint than at the vertical midpoint.

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    I gotta be honest, I dislike this game. I've played it twice now. problems:

    - can't pause
    - can't mute
    - hearts are too hard (especially for the creativity of the game play)
    - monster is annoying.
    - no other places to visit.

    I'm only really frustrated because the game has so much potential. I think that a second version that addresses these concerns would be perfect.

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    Does Infinity's Midpoint do anything? I did as Jay suggested, still nothing.

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    Anonymous August 30, 2010 9:28 PM

    There is a simple "strategy" to catch the last heart, if you know what Wolfgang mentioned.

    There are two practical reasons to leave the belly heart for last. The first is that if you catch it near the cave, it's easier to find it, but I suppose the cursor hint makes that unnecessary. The second is that, as Wolfgang said, every time you catch a heart (including the belly one), the difficulty raises, and the belly heart is easy to catch. So you don't end up with a too-difficult-to-catch heart.

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    I have a hard time calling this 'relaxing' when the monster is always disturbing you. If getting interrupted literally every 10 seconds is what 'relaxing' is to you, I kind of feel sorry about that.

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    Indeed, I find that running left/right or especially diagonally makes the heart show out faster, giving the "chase" far more enjoyable and "seeable".

    Only one heart will appear ever in the game's "screen" (note that what the game defines as the screen around the player is slightly bigger than what you as the player can see). Once that heart escapes the "screen", the game will automatically create another heart that will always be in the general direction that you are going in, so if a heart is giving you too much of a headache in trying to chase, just change directions from where the heart you were chasing. The game will give you another heart to chase.

    When you have to spin around, try to spin around in a perfect circle (like the screenshot shows) and spin for a while. Chances are, when you have to spin around to get rid of the monster, you're going to lose the heart you were chasing anyways. That's okay, as the game will produce another one soon enough (did you read my previous paragraph?), and hopefully the beast will be far enough for you to get the heart.

    In the end, though, Jay has it down pat. Persistence is the only answer to this game. In a very odd way, this also gives rise to one of the main concepts about this game, the concept of love, and the necessity of being persistent in chasing love. Those that are in love probably have their own stories about how much time and effort they have to put in to obtain their love, and those who do not can also relate to trying to persist in believing that there is a special someone out there waiting for them.

    In fact, this talk has made me think of something else about this game - how it may be very easy to start off falling in love, but it becomes very hard to continue pursuing in love - and this involves confronting your own fears as well.

    Infinity's midpoint, in this view, means that even when alone, people will keep chasing for love. The problem is that when you are alone, it is extremely easy to be lost. Lost to the point where people do not know whether they want to keep suffering their pain while waiting for someone to love them, or to seclude themselves, hide from the pain... alone. As one of these people in this middle ground, I understand his position.

    This game is turning out deeper than I expect.

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    Ok so seriously...

    I don't know if this counts as a spoiler, so I'm just going to write it and say DON'T READ IT IF YOU WANT A SURPRISE ABOUT THE GAME, just to be safe. BUT I need help, so I don't want to hide this in a box in case someone doesn't click it.

    I played this game SO LONG the first time trying to find the last heart AFTER GETTING ALL SIX in the 'world', and I only replayed it now because I read you can hold down the mouse button on the last level and the arrow will give you a hint, which it does not. I thought I had missed the message of the game the first time after reading that there was actually a heart to collect in the comments this time. So I'm going to QUIT IT AGAIN without getting anything in Infiniti's Midpoint. But could someone definitively PLEASE TELL ME:

    IN INFINITI'S MIDPOINT, IS THERE A HEART TO COLLECT OR NOT?

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    For those that think that this game is still too hard, I just spent about 40 mins on my laptop with a touch pad to complete the entire game, including Infinity's Midpoint, and I didn't even purposely stay around the cave at all. Seeing how my laptop is a pretty old computer, that's pretty good.

    So persist! Just like love, you keep fighting to find your one true love! (God I sound cheesy...)

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    *Jacob* Yes (...sort of)

    Press and hold the mouse button down FOR A WHILE and the arrow will eventually point to where to go.

    (Note this even works for hearts.)

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    @Jacob:

    In order to see the "Hint", I'd suggest you to move the mouse close to you (that is, don't move), then hold down the mouse button. DO NOT MOVE! Your arrow should be SMALL!

    After a (long) while, you will see that your arrow suddenly will become BIG. This is your "hint". Keep holding down your mouse, move in that direction (edge of the screen, remember?), and... keep holding. Until you find the midpoint of infinity. [It took me a while to find out this "Hint" too, so you're not alone in thinking that there is no hint.]

    And as for your second question.

    There is no "definitive" answer to your question. This is because there is a "heart", but it's not the kind of heart that you have been chasing throughout the game. To REALLY spoil the game:

    Just start the game. Instead of chasing your first heart, turn around and explore the piece of land you launched from.

    You will find the "heart" of Infinity's Midpoint.

    It is the heart carved onto the piece of land.

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    Maybe their soaring through the cosmos represents emotional ecstasy and love. While the black smoke stands for being rudely awakened by reality.

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    In order to finish the game easily:

    If you make sure to get all the hearts while staying above/below the ground, then get the last heart there. When you blast up, fly back down and you'll come right back to the cliff/last heart.

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    Thanks, Jay and Anon.

    @Anon:

    The first time I played, I saw that. I didn't realize I was supposed to come back to it after the end of the game. Even now that I know I'm headed for it, I've been flying a solid five minutes and still haven't reached it. While I'm glad something's going to happen, this is a glaring issue for me. I'm not exactly the impatient type, but given how far you can travel in this game, it seems a little mean of the game not to give you any sort of scale or compass indication so you know how far back away 'Start' is if it's not going to generate it closer to you.

    Yes I understand the metaphor, but with this sort of ...bareness, it definitely seemed like nothing was ever going to happen, which is why I inferred my initial thoughts about the meaning of the 'end' of this game. Indeed, it led to my thinking there was a different metaphor here entirely.

    Hm. Having gotten back to the Heart, I'm not sure how I feel about the "actual" ending now. At least it's an ending, even if I don't totally get it right now. :)

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    What a cute and fun game!
    I'm glad that you can't really die in this game.
    And even if you get eaten, you still keep your list of hearts :3

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    I'm still trying to figure out the

    "Flying..." screen that you can get to by right-clicking.

    Any opinions on this?

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    Jay already answered that question Wolfgang. It's normal for flash games to go back to loading screens if you right click and click "Play" or "Rewind" in the menu. It is because of this possibility that really infuriates me when my sister always right click in a flash game and pops out the flash menu.

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    I sort of liked this game, it was fun and pretty... but the mechanic of spinning was too difficult. If it could be made to be less precise to have the spinning occur, it would have been more enjoyable. I did not find the increasing difficulty of catching the hearts to be bad, though. I mean, I expect things to get a little harder with each "level". Inifinity's Midpoint, uch. Figured it out, but it rather ruined the rhythmn of the game play. And the ending... well maybe it has some personal meaning for the maker, but it was pretty unsatisfying. The only meaning I could project into it was that the girl had day-dreamed the whole adventure, but there was no sense of completion... which is maybe sandbox-ish, but the game was more of a narrative. Having said all that, I am in awe of anyone who can put any of these things together and bravo for a job well done! Looking forward to the next Mr.Bean installment!

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    Not a bad game, but the controls leave something to be desired and the final scene was both anticlimactic and nigh-impossible to figure out without external help. :/ Interesting game, though.

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    I love the groove of this game. The backgrounds (especially infintie cosmos) are gorgeous and without fault. If I have to give one hint of warning it's this

    Do not go to far out from the starting point, or else when you get to infinity's midpoint, it takes FOREVER to get to the end, not kidding! It took me about 30 minutes of flying through white space to get back...

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    how does it end? i keep trying to win but i cant figure out the last heart and i keep getting eaten so please just tell me how it ends please

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    hi! this game is extremely frustrating especialy as i got to the midpoint of infinity then tried to tie an elastic band around the mouse cause i couldn't bear to hold it down any longer. then the computer went back a page and i gave up.

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    dark star girl October 12, 2010 10:43 PM

    It's about a relationship, how you can always travel farther in a relationship. The hearts are the things that you find out about each other that make you love each other more. The smoke thing is everything that tries to end it and finding the heart in the belly is how at the worst of times you find faith in each other. And when you finally overcome the monster it starts all over.

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    lolgirl607 November 23, 2010 9:20 PM

    This is a very relaxing game. I just find it a bit boring after a while of just flying through space chasing hearts that evade your grasp everytime the monster tries to eat you only to realize that there was an ending to the game.

    Could someone post the actual ending of the game? That would be greatly appreciated

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    ... the ending filled me with enough rage to destroy a small planet 30 minutes of flying around in pointless white space for that? RAGE I SAY RAGE!

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    Janek37 June 24, 2011 7:10 PM

    OK, my interpretation is a lot different from what I've read above. And this includes a hint on catching the final heart, which I also haven't found above. So, for me the hearts are some goals they chase in life. At the beginning, the goals are easy to achieve, but the further into the game, the harder they get. The shadows are problems, which are inevitable when they focus so hard on chasing the goals. When they fly in circles, with no goal, the shadow is not a threat. Also, if they turn back onto the shadow, it vanishes: the problems are easily solved when faced directly.
    About the hint:

    Last hearts are running away when you chase them to fast, but when slow down, they come to you. When they pay attention only to their goal and not each other, it's not really helping. Sometimes it's good to slow down and not chase to hard.

    About the hidden heart (mentioned above many times):

    When they're in the monster belly - that is, they're consumed by problems, the goal is obvious: to get out. That's why this heart is the easiest.

    About the ending:

    After they've achived all their goals, the relationship becomes pointless? They lose each other and the only way back is to start over?

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    I agreed with an earlier poster...this game would have been MUCH more relaxing and enjoyable except for;

    - can't pause
    - can't mute
    - hearts are too hard (especially for the creativity of the game play)
    - monster is annoying.

    Monster is SUPER annoying! Good grief, I understnad having a bit of a challenge, but it is just obscenely frequent.

    It really is a gorgeous game, and a wonderful concept. I loved reading everyone's interperetations of what meaning there is. I did actually love the game aside from the above quoted issues. I'm actually still stuck on the last (for me) heart in the unfathomable depths of the ocean.

    I discovered the heart "inside" by accident...was taken away from my computer, so left boy and girl drifting, came back and there it was! Lol.

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