Abstract art is an interesting pursuit. What is unique and beautiful to one can in the same instance be dull and unattractive to another. The very attributes that one person is drawn to are the same attributes that turn another away. World of One, an indie puzzle platformer from Grimwood Team, is a game that, in many ways, could be described the same way. After spending several hours exploring, puzzling, and dying gruesome, horrible deaths, I walked away with a sense of appreciation for what World of One is, but not necessarily an attraction to the style of game that it is. This is our World of One review.
World of One is truly a labor of love. The art style, sound, aesthetic and music all work so well together to create the perfect setting to tell a very depressing tale. Without getting too much into the story details for fear of spoilers, it can be said the story is told as an internal monolog with the main character desperately trying to unravel a rather depressing tale.
Grimwood Team has done an excellent job with world creation, puzzle design and overall feel for the game. The world, or worlds, creation to be more accurate gives the game a unique feel and aesthetic. Each level is its own little world with the ground having a slight curve to represent the curvature of the mini planet you are currently one. This unique design was immediately eye-catching and really creates a desire to explore.
Each world has a series of puzzles all of which has been excellently crafted leaving the player with solid challenges without leaving them overwhelmed. With the ability to hold up to three items, you’ll find yourself picking up and holding on to items that you may not use until later on in the level. This creates a great sense of discovery and excitement every time you came across some new item that can be picked up.
The world itself has a dark foreboding feeling which fits well with the underlying story themes. The sounds and music help build up the story and feel of World of One, leaving the player with a sense of sadness and sympathy for the main character. Overall the art and world design, coupled with solid music and unique story telling lay a solid foundation for the game.
However, the game does struggle with a few mechanics that left me a bit frustrated. Combat in World of One feels clumsy and unresponsive which lead to several unnecessary checkpoint reloads. This caused a lot of frustration during the playthrough as even one hit from an enemy means death. With checkpoints spaced rather far apart throughout the level, you can literally spend several minutes trying to defeat only a few enemies that are packed together. Ultimately this took away from the overall experience and wore thin my desire to pursue the story. For as much polish as there is in other areas of the game, combat and controls feel rough and unrefined.
Another issue that I noticed during my time in World of One was a graphical glitch that came in the form of screen tearing whenever I was moving through the level. Every time the camera would move to follow my character along with his spherical path, it seemed like there was screen tearing happening. Even with the Vsync option on, one of the few video options available, the screen tearing was persistent. This was a constant distraction and really took away from the immersion that World of One was working so hard to create.
Final Thoughts in World of One Review:
World of One is a unique game with some great atmosphere, art style, music and puzzle mechanics. For those that enjoy more of an artistic expression in your video games World of One will probably be down your alley. However poor combat and controls tend to hamper the experience of exploring the story and world that Grimwood Team has created. For those looking for a smooth gameplay experience, at present you won’t find it here. However if you’re willing to push through bad combat mechanics and sluggish controls you might just find the piece of art that you truly enjoy despite how others view it.