Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion is not what I expected at all.
Billed as an surreal open world adventure, it begins with a gorgeous preamble setting up the overarching mythos of the game. Two celestial bodies, a light world and its dark counterpart, are long-lost lovers – until a messenger of the dark world (you) embarks on a journey to bring them back together.
You are then dropped in a monochromatic open world, seemingly a world away from the lush visuals promised by the opening sequence and by the trailer and photos. As with all games, there’s a bit of trial and error at the beginning. However, while I’ve never played anything quite like it, the mechanics are fairly easy to pick up. And there’s nothing quite like that feeling of satisfaction when you successfully solve a new puzzle.
As you progress through the strange world, you unlock different abilities to effect different types of change on the world around you – either for fun, or to solve puzzles. Every time you solve a puzzle, you unlock more of the story and more of the features, bringing more colour and more options to the world. Well, worlds – there is a dark and light world to explore.
Unlike most puzzle games, where the solution lies in timing (say, timing a jump correctly) or physics (moving different levers or balancing), Bokida’s puzzles instead rely heavily on lateral thinking. That can make it frustrating when you can’t work something out, but also means that solving a puzzle gives you more satisfaction.
Really, I’m loathe to call Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion a puzzler, even though technically it would fall under that category. The game is beautiful, with peaceful music and soothing Korean voice acting, and differentiates itself from other puzzle games in its style – it feels a great deal more artistic and open-ended than other puzzlers. There aren’t any time pressure or any danger or enemies. Instead, the game is meditative and lets you set your own pace. Perfect for a lazy afternoon.
Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion is available on Steam for $17.99 USD. For more information or to buy it, head to the Steam page.