“Hello. Are you sitting comfortably? Are you focused, and not thinking about whatever’s bothering you these days?
I’m not here to test you; please relax.”
As a gentle, relaxed voice received me with those words, my journey in Sunlight began.
Developed by Krillbite Studios and an indirect sequel of their previous game The Plan, Sunlight brings an exciting perspective on walking simulators. Far from replicating the environments in their past work such as the terrorizing atmosphere in Among The Sleep or the dreadful cities in Mosaic, this relaxing narrative adventure displays a more natural aesthetic, with both the auditive and visual aspects in it being genuinely delightful.
A Hand-Painted Tale
I arrived in a glade surrounded by a wide amalgam of tall trees, waving with the wind and brimming with life as the sunlight illuminated my path. Every tree was unique in its texture and foliage, every flower I collected was full of colour, and the sky changed its colour as time passes, creating a beautiful hand-painted 3d picture that constantly evolved. This amazing landscape is made possible by the use of Quill, Oculus’s incredible painting and animation software for virtual reality: when I say hand-painted I’m being literal, since artists use motion controls in a 3d virtual space to create forms and, later, animate them.
The Whispering Woods
Not only the image displayed in front of me but also the many sounds that were part of the forest I was walking through, were worthy of admiration. Background noises like the wind blowing, the trees creaking and the crack of branches add atmospheric immersion, but perhaps what stands out the most is the natural narrators in this adventure, the trees.
“…Let your thoughts come and go, and listen as they fade in the distance…”
Every tree in the forest talks to you with a unique vocal tone and cadence, creating a massive choir of storytellers. Details like a young tree with the voice of a kid sitting on a field of gold leaves, make the voice acting in this game worthy of praise due to the immense level of work in it. The accurate selection of Tchaikovsky’s Hymn of the Cherubim as the background music only added more mysticism and calm to the whole scene.
Cradled By Nature’s Voice
The tale began when, at the centre of the glade, a solitary tree started to tell me a story. While the rest of the trees joined the first one forming a chorus, I went to start collecting flowers across different glades. Every time you finish listening to a fragment of the story, a circle of illuminated flowers appears, you choose one of them and continue your journey, making your bouquet grow and unlocking the next part of the tale, until you reach the outer limit of the forest, finishing the tale, and with that, your adventure.
As I reached the conclusion, a desolate image marked the end of a short but profound experience, and without anything else to do, I couldn’t help but…
And breathe out.”
[Reviewed on PC]