The riddle of the sphinx is invoked at the beginning of Convergence, the flixel-based platformer/life simulator/interactive art piece that serves as the debut release from Streetlight Studios: "What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?"... No, the answer isn't "William the Performing Dog". It's that miserable pile of secrets itself: man. And you'll be be spending an interesting three days in a life herein. Wake up, fall out of bed, drag a comb across your head and check it out.
Coming off as a bit of a simplified version of Alter Ego, Convergence has you play through a trio of life stages, with the choices you make in each sending you in one direction or another along the way. First is infancy, where you scurry around the house with the [arrow] keys and climb with the [spacebar], trying to collect more toys than your sibling. Then comes adulthood, with its straining choices between work and social life, again moving and making choices with the [arrow] keys and the [spacebar] to confirm. Finally, comes old age, the least interactive part of the game as you move through and see what your choices have wrought, with three major endings to achieve.
There are those out there in casual-gaming land who are of the opinion that pixel graphics are increasingly becoming a crutch for "art" game designers, and that the aesthetic often fails to make up for stiff mechanics or a bathetic tone... Let's just say that Convergence won't exactly be Exhibit A for the defense. That said, there are quite a few things to like. For what it's worth, the increasingly-complex pixelated graphics are quite well done, with the various home environments being particular stand-outs. The dialogue flows well, packing a lot of emotion in very few words, and has some amusing shout-outs (like the Majesty of Flavors ice cream stand). Lastly, the choice of tracks from Creative Commons music-meister Kevin MacLeod shows the developers have good taste, if not neccesarily in-house music talent.
In the final assessment, while I liked each of the individual scenes in Convergence, I'm not quite sure if they successfully mesh into a coherent whole. The tone shifts so quickly from manic platforming, to relationship simulator, to interactive art that you might get whiplash. There are so many ideas here, that some aren't given the room they need to breathe. Despite this, Convergence intrigued me enough to play through enough to see how each of the three stages converge and diverge based on your actions. I found it quite satisfying in that regard, even if the "Multiple Endings Based On Choosing Work or Love" aspect is hokey. Still, even if Convergence comes off as always verge of mawkishness, the pros of it outweigh the cons, gents. I look forward to seeing how the strengths of Streetlight will grow in games to come.