Entering the world of Vane, you find a bleak, desperate, lonely world for you to explore. It’s a world where you must figure out how you are going to survive. And other than the occasional situation-specific button prompt, you are left to figure out everything yourself. From the goal, to the controls, or even the meaning of what you experience.

When I first booted up Vane, I expected a reflective pilgrimage like that of Journey. What the game from Friend & Foe Games actually gave me was an experience with a feeling more akin to Ico or Rime by the end. And it was over quickly. With such an experience, taking such a short time, you end up asking yourself, “Was it worth it?”

Reshaping The World – Atmosphere

Story is not Vane’s primary focus. Much of what occurs during a play through is up to interpretation of the player. Personally, I found it to be about working together to attempt leaving the world better than you find it. This is just one of many interpretations, however.

With story taking a backseat, atmosphere ends up taking the game’s center stage. And there is a lot to take in. Starting the game as a bird, you are set loose on the world of the game to go anywhere you please with nothing outright telling you where to go or what to do. But while the world first appears vast, you soon realize that that there are only so many things to interact with in the environment.

Only using the first location as an example for this review, you experience the sandy ruins as a bird. You can fly, land, and call out to your fellow birds. But as big as the ruins seem, there’s not much to do in them. And as the setting changes, you enter equally large yet empty areas. Exploring for fun can wear out its welcome in just a couple minutes. Especially when there is not much detail in the things that are there to interact with.

Hearing The Song Of The Planet – The Music And Sound

Much like everything else in this game, the music is very minimalistic as well. And while the present music is wonderful and fits the mood perfectly, it really only builds up at the end of the game. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I really did appreciate the noises and sounds that helped build what my imagination made of this world. And by the end of the game, when the music has built up, it sounds really good.

Control Of Your Destiny – Controls

Like I mentioned before, as a bird, you can fly, land, and call. When you take control of the child, instead of flying, you can jump. And instead of landing, you can push and pull objects.

While it was fun to fly around as a bird, oftentimes the camera would zoom in uncomfortably close and flying would become unmanageable. Often times I would find that I couldn’t land exactly how I wanted to. But I must admit that I didn’t have as many issues controlling the child. At the first real introduction to the child, you can roll small circular objects that are difficult to manage. But you end up not needing to roll these objects for any puzzles.

Cracks In The Earth – Glitches

However, there was one graphical glitch that affected both the bird and child. This graphical glitch comes from the world itself. Part of what you do in Vane has the world forming around you as you complete puzzles or even move through an area. On more than one occasion, my character got stuck in a crack in the environment. And because the game only autosaves, I ended up having to start puzzles all over again.

Having to start puzzles over again might seem like a huge sin that a game can commit, but unfortunately it gets lessened by another issue I had.

The Lifespan Of A Bird – Game Length And Value

Solving puzzles that you already had to complete all over again might seem like a huge issue. Unfortunately, if you knew how to solve every puzzle in the game going in, it would only take less than two hours. One could argue that Vane’s true experience is in the journey. It is for this reason, I would not recommend looking up any of the answers to puzzles online. If you look up even one answer, you just spoiled a significant fraction of the game, because of its length.

I completed Vane in around three hours. As of the time of this review, Vane is available for the PS4 and PC for $24.99 US dollars. For a game with less than two hours worth of content, this is inexcusable. While I did have fun with Vane and someday, I may fill out my trophy list, I can’t recommend anyone pick up this game for any more than 1/4 the original asking price.

Is The World Worth Saving? – Vane Verdict

I had a fun three hours with Vane. I was curious to see what this game had to show me. The occasional glitch and weird camera controls did not necessarily spoil my experience, but it did sour it. And it was a lot of fun just flying around as a bird.
If you can find this game for cheap, I can recommend it. But as it stands at this very moment, $25 is too much money to spend on a game that only has five or six puzzle areas with undetailed environments. Especially, if you end up not liking the world that it shows you. But if you love minimalistic games that value the journey over the story, pick it up when it goes on sale. I just can’t recommend it today.
THE GOOD
Mysterious world to explore through minimalistic story.
Music and sound really fits the mood the game is going for.
A game you can beat in one sitting if that’s what you’re looking for.
THE BAD
While areas are wipe and open, there’s nothing really to do in them but solve the one puzzle before you.
Bad camera controls while in flight.
Glitchy environments leading to your character getting trapped in the ground.
As of the time of this review, the price of the game is way too expensive for the amount of content available.
6.5
Fair

Review Summary

Vane is an enjoyable journey through a desolate world with the occasional issue with camera controls and glitches that cause you to lose minutes of progress. Despite, its flaws there is something to discover within the game. But at less than two hours worth of content, one can’t justify the twenty-five dollar price tag.

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