Let’s see. I’ve experienced Scribblenauts from its earnest beginnings to its later, mega-popular forms, thought not all of ’em. I’ve also played Outernauts though Insomiac decided to take it all down off of Facebook some time back. A part of me would eventually like to try out Treasurenauts. Until then, at least I can say I played Naut, which, if keeping with the theme, should have been more amusingly titled as Nautnauts. I don’t know. I think every game title should end with the nauts suffix; yes, even you, Chrono Cross.
Anyways, the stylistic and explorative Naut is from Lucie Viatgé, Tom Victor, and Titouan Millet, members of the Klondike collective. According to their website, they come from the north of France and are not (er, naut) in fact a delicious ice cream treat that comes in over two dozen flavors and includes choco tacos, ice cream sandwiches, and stickless bars. I’m not familiar with too much of their other game work, but if it is anything like Naut, count me in. Or, at the very least, count me in to begin sifting through their, surprisingly, large backlog.
What is Naut all about? That’s not really something easily answered. You might as well be asking about the meaning of life. Let me steer you in a direction though using the developers’ own words: wander around, drive through the desert, hear what the cosmos has to tell you. While some elements might remain the same, everyone’s experience with Naut will be slightly different. For me, I immediately took our leading astronaut and goofily ran him/her over to the car, and then proceeded to drive around Mars and see its sights. Which consisted of strange plants, additional houses with odd inhabitants, and large rock formations, as well as a lightning storms. I watched the day turn into night and then back into day. Lastly, before deciding I had seen my fill of the Red Planet, I honked my car’s horn enough times to lift both it and its drive high into the air, far enough to no longer be able to see the alien ground below; naturally, I had the astronaut exit the vehicle and fall to his/her…feet. Yup, no fall damage, no fall physics–but that’s okay. It was still a beautiful descent.
Visually, I think Naut is out of this world, pun fully and gleefully intended. It’s a whole lot of pink and pastels for this Martian frontier, but it works, presenting this unknown planet as friendly and inviting, something you shouldn’t be scared to explored. You should be excited, like a kid getting a birthday gift early. The piano-lead soundtrack is melancholic, but adaptive, changing depending on whether you are driving at high speeds or galloping on the ground. Either way, it is at once calming and unnerving, reminding you that you are alone out here, but that that’s a-okay. Mars is both empty and massive, yours for the viewing. Interestingly, you can play Naut with a second player, navigating your collective way from one home to another, which sounds like fun, though I will probably never get to experience it.
Curious to see Mars for yourself? Good at clicking on links? Then grab a free copy of Naut over this way (or drop the developers a few bucks) and enjoy those outer space lightning storms as much as I did.