The first time I saw Proteus I was wowed by its beauty. It’s a truly captivating world that will fill you with intrigue and curiosity. With an island to explore and no background story or hint of why you are there, it’s time to visit Proteus…
Your main aim in Proteus is to walk around. Yep, that’s it. Walk around. There are no objectives. Your only task is to literally walk around. Luckily, it’s possibly the best bit of walking around you will ever do. Proteus is a game that defies convention. Everything you were previously used to in games can be left at home in the real world. Proteus is a destination full of wonder and one that after playing it 4 times, I still can’t get my head around.
Your walkthrough is split into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Your ambient exploration of Proteus is accompanied by lovely music that is not unlike the more eclectic moments of Sigur Ros and Sufjan Stevens. The music is truly magical and plays a very important part, changing depending on where you are on the island and what interactions you have with the scenery. On your journey, you’ll come across glorious tones, majestic textures and meet adorable creatures. At one point, I hung out with an owl for a few minutes. He was doing his thing, I was doing mine. It was cool. And I guess that’s the head scratching thing about Proteus. It defies logic. Hanging out with 8-bit creatures and being inquisitive about pixelated plants and trees is not a typical thing to be excited about in gaming. But Proteus is a bewildering world that will give you goosebumps and will keep on giving long after your first playthrough. Each walk through the island will be familiar but different; whether it be merely different colour shades or encountering creatures that are more rare than others, you’ll be wide eyed throughout.
The Vita version adds a few extra nice touches too, such as changing the weather and colour by sitting down and rubbing the back touchscreen. This will only unlock after your first playthrough though. Likewise with the trophies. Some will take till your third, fourth or fifth playthrough. The trophies are not obtrusive however, and are often received for not particularly obvious things. It’s almost as if Proteus wants to reward you for exploring further and further afield. You can even generate an island using location settings, creating a random seed from your wifi router based on your real life location. They are all things that politely add to the experience but never get in the way of it.
Don’t get me wrong, Proteus is certainly not for everyone. For every person that loves this game, there will be another who doesn’t get it, but that’s the point. Like many beautiful things in life, it can’t be explained. It’s not here to be understood. It’s a brave, perplexing game that asks you to forget what you know. If you can approach Proteus without a modicum of expectancy or what is considered to be the norm, you will find yourself immersed in one of the most beautiful, unique experience’s there is on the Vita.
Proteus is a beautiful place, one you will want to visit again and again.
Punk Rating: 9/10