Overlooked game 'Arise: A Simple Story' is a surprising love story

Overlooked game 'Arise: A Simple Story' is a surprising love storyOverlooked game 'Arise: A Simple Story' is a surprising love story

I’m a sucker for a video game that explores romance, especially one that deviates from accepted norms of the medium. Often, we can court characters in games by using conversational choices that please them. Sometimes, love comes from completing tasks or favors that turn other characters into allies. Although there may be some real-life, borderline cynical truths in each of those approaches, it feels a little too much like winning someone over, especially when true romance tends to burrow itself in our minds until we eventually realize it has taken hold of us. This month, I fell in love with “Arise: A Simple Story,” the debut game from Barcelona, Spain-based Piccolo Studio. While it deals with more than matters of the heart, the core of the game chases the metaphorical sensations present in companionship. Life, it argues, is colored more by what we feel than what we see, even when what “Arise” presents us with are warming, folkloric fairy tale images. In good times, high on being with another or the anticipation of the next rendezvous, we traverse among towering dandelions or soar in a bioluminescent waterway. But the forest can become imposing, an earth-shaking danger where trees don’t inspire wonder but fear. Thus, “Arise” is a game built for reflection, a look back on our relationships and how they mold us. There are challenges, but “Arise” keeps tying them back to our emotional state. In moments of celebration, we illuminate a cozy world full of glittery pink skies and glowing flowers. In ...
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