I questioned whether I should consider Journey to the Center of the Sun as a game I completed in 2016, seeing as it took no more than ten minutes to get through, ends abruptly, and doesn’t actually deliver on the promise of journeying to the center of the sun. That said, there’s definitely something here. A seed of an idea, an ocean of style, and it has the potential to be something grander, so I’m giving it its due in hope of pushing it forward to evolve into a more fulfilling experience.
Here’s the plot, which is far-fetched, but fun in a Pixar-like fashion: you wake from a vivid dream with a new purpose in life, which is to be the first human ever to fly a rocket into the sun. Your first goal is to get hold of a rocketship. Unfortunately, after finding one on your apartment building’s rooftop, you discover that it’s going to cost you $8 zillion to purchase. That’s quite an expensive rocketship, as well as an indeterminately large amount of money in reality. Might as well said it costs $567.9 million billion trillion jillion zillion.
Obviously, what really sold me to give Journey to the Center of the Sun a shot are its visuals, which are childish, but dripping with style. They are both vibrant and gloomy all at once, and they help distract you from the silly nature of the plot whereas if these were highly detailed people and environments you might just walk away from it entirely for being too goofy of a game. Some scenes look nicer than others, especially the sewer and inside the coffee shop, but there’s a foundation here to grow from. Evidently, this game from Chad Lare was inspired by onegameamonth.com and its “solar” theme from July 2015; you can read more about his thoughts postmortem its release over at his blog.
A couple of critiques, because now’s the time. I found transitioning between scenes involving doors to be jarring, as you’re stuck inside the doorway when in the next area and have to move out of it first before exploring, instead of simply appearing outside of the doorway. A bit hard to explain, but if you give the game a go–I’ll link to it in the last paragraph–you’ll see what I mean. The UI for the dialogue trees is a bit strange, though not a deal-breaker. Lastly, and I don’t know if this had something more to do with my browser since I didn’t download the Windows version, there’s no audio, which could really help give the ultra atmospheric visuals an extra punch.
I’m curious to see either this style or Journey to the Center of the Sun develop. Really, I’d be happy with either outcome. Until then, give this a shot, especially if you aren’t a big fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Trust me on that last bit.