Far 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.