[I’ve decided to just make this a series. Starting today, I’m going to produce one (or more) of these per week as a way to keep me playing new things and posting videos of games that might not be as popular. In other words, it’s going to be a collection of games I think are interesting and that others should maybe check out.]
I like games that create their own languages. Not just in the sense of having an alien script or ancient looking runes, but a real and meaningful grammar of glyphs that exist within the in-game world and through which the player must read, understand, and then respond. Fez has this and Journey too has it to a lesser degree. Both slowly introduce the player to other worlds based in cultures with their own languages.
This is what I really love about Kairo. It’s somewhere between Antichamber and Proteus in it’s approach to teaching the player to solve puzzles: there is very little written language within the game at all — none outside menus, in fact. Instead, there is a system of sounds, glyphs, and switches that have an internally consistent logic. When the player hears a certain sound, that means the action is the correct one. A set of glyphs is on various surfaces, highlighting how to match symbols with each other in order to move machinery. So far, I’m highly impressed with it.
Which is not to write that it isn’t frustrating some too. After playing through my first session over about a couple hours, I decided to record some video and started a new session. That’s what is embedded below, me solving the first set of puzzles up through the point where I am currently stuck.