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Arise: A Simple Story is a Time-Twisting, Charming Platformer

If Arise: A Simple Story is to be believed, standing on snails is sometimes a good thing.

It’s never nice to be putting the bin out and hear a sudden crunch beneath your boots; it’s even less pleasant for the snail whose life you’ve accidentally and painfully ended. But Arise: A Simple Story‘s molluscs are a lot hardier and larger; they’re content to let your protagonist use their shells a stepping-stone to higher platforms.

Bees, too, are surprisingly co-operative, letting you use them as mobile grappling points. Isn’t nature wonderful?

Assuming, that is, the events of Arise: A Simple Story are actually happening. The game  takes place either in the afterlife or the mind of your bearded, aged protagonist and resembles a Pixar remake of What Dreams May Come. You’re able to manipulate time, which adds to Arise‘s odd, dreamlike quality and makes for some pleasingly mindbending platforming. Faced with a brightly-coloured chasm, you can rewind time until a bee buzzes past, hook onto it and, fast forwarding, jump off when it’s carried you to safety.

True, Arise: A Simple Story isn’t the only game to let you mess around with time – but since time is frozen by default, you’re given enough thinking time that you can appreciate its charming worlds.

The preview build I got my hands mostly revolved around one world, ‘Joy’, but I was still grinning from ear to ear most of the time, hijacking snails and sliding down water-slides. The fact that my character didn’t seem to have any actual eyes was, surprisingly, only mildly off-putting.

Arise‘s story definitely piqued my interest and appears to revolve around revisiting the old man’s memories, including his regrets. I’m looking forward to playing more when the game releases, and discovering whether the old man manages to find the one he lost or if all he can do is come to terms with what happened.

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Despite the lack of dialogue, he came across as an appealing protagonist; the fact you’re not going around murdering cute creatures definitely helps. It’s less God of War, more God of Awwww.

Since the right stick is used to rewind and fast forward time, you don’t have the same level of camera control as in other 3D platformers, which can be mildly annoying. But pausing snails proved entertaining enough that I’m willing to forgive Arise that. However, Arise: A Simple Story, won’t be all fun and games; there’s the promise of later, darker levels, taking you beyond joy and into regret. Charming and entertaining as this chapter was, I’ve a feeling the final story won’t be so simple after all.

Arise: A Simple Story is set for a December 3rd release on PS4 and PC.

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.