I'm not sure I've ever played a game as beautiful as Reaching For Petals is shaping up to be.
A walking simulator through and through, Reaching For Petals is a mysterious and thought-provoking journey of two halves. There's a physical journey - walking through some of the most beautiful natural scenery I've ever seen - and a mental/emotional journey, told via the fantastic narrator and through short cutscenes of memories.
As the game unfolds, it starts to become more clear how both journeys fit together, and their significance slowly unravels.
After playing a 30-minute demo of Reaching For Petals, I'm hooked. I'm desperate to find out more; to see where the story is going to take me and to find out the importance of everything I've just seen.
The demo opens as we're walking through dense woodlands; a gorgeous forest filled with luscious green trees, falling leaves and babbling brooks. Honestly, the visuals blew me away as soon as the game started up - almost every second of the game looks photorealistic; I felt like I was walking through a series of photographs, each one more beautiful than the one before.
The wonderful delivery from Reaching For Petals' narrator only helps to further draw us into the mystery of our journey, too. His deep yet soothing tones bring the world alive, and as he describes the majesty of the forest and the natural beauty around us - whoever we are - it's hard not to get lost in his words. By the end of the short demo, I found I was hanging onto every word, desperate for some kind of clue as to where the story is going.
The second part of the demo takes us from the woodland into a dark yet enigmatic cave. It's here that the journey seems to shift; what felt like a literal journey through a picturesque forest now seems more metaphorical. The narrative becomes deeper and more complex, and with it, much more intriguing.
The cave that we explore is absolutely mesmerising; beams of light fall in through cracks in the rocks above, illuminating the cavern in an almost magical way. It twists and turns through corridors scattered with dark and light; water trickles down the walls and pools of water collect on the ground, glistening in the speckled light. It's a wonder to behold; after walking through the forest, it was hard to imagine that Reaching For Petals could get more breathtaking, but it did - and I can't wait to see what it has in store for me once the full game releases later this summer.
Reaching For Petals has, so far, completely surpassed my expectations. Developer Blue Entropy Studios has done a frankly amazing job at crafting such a jaw-droppingly beautiful game, with what's shaping up to be an intriguing narrative to challenge it. It's definitely a title that I'm now eagerly awaiting the release of.