You know what it's like when you go to a foreign country and you don't speak the language? And then you take hats and keys and scarves from some people and give them to others, and they all jump with excitement? No? Well, maybe that's just me. But if you want to know what it's like, try Vast by Johannes Jensen and Takorii, a strangely alluring experimental minimalist game in which you are the only red thing among lots of black things.
It starts out very simply: hold down the left mouse button to walk and explore your surroundings. When you encounter another person, click on their speech bubble to interact with them. Now, this is where it gets tricky – you see, they all talk in symbols and you've left your English-to-alien dictionary at home. But you can tell from their body language that they aren't happy and, since you're a thoroughly decent chap (not to mention that you have nowhere else to go), you stop and try to help. They respond by either staying glum and uttering a single strange sign, or by giving you an item that starts dragging behind you, which you can then give to someone who needs it. The map in the bottom right corner is your best friend; it's rudimentary and stubbornly erases your footsteps behind you, but it will make your life much easier. On the other hand, if you like a challenge, try playing without looking at it and without swearing at the screen.
Vast is a little game with a big heart. It is stripped down to a bare minimum, and yet it gives you an impression of stumbling upon an entire tiny world. You feel like a stranger, what with your outlandish colour and all the noise you make when you walk. You don't know what the people are saying, but still you do your best to understand them because they seem to need a helping hand, and you feel all warm and fuzzy when you make them happy. For a game made in 72 hours, it sure has a lot to say about being kind to strangers. So next time you're on holiday in France, you might look at a mime and hate them a little less.