The Imagined Leviathan Review
In what is described as “a short poetic survival horror” game by the development team at Far Few Giants, The Imagined Leviathan is a walking simulator with a unique aesthetic and an even more unique method of storytelling. Does this arthouse title manage to stand out, or is it a little too avant garde for its own good?
The Imagined Leviathan Review
The arctic wasteland of Britain is a grim place, once that is freezing cold and full of whiteness and nothing more. As the protagonist of the game, players must seek out fuel and kindling, gather life words, and make a journey to Steel Henge to pass a message onto the next generation. It’s a brutal journey in a dark world, one that players must achieve by themselves and at all costs.
This all sounds like a great premise, and it is, but The Imagined Leviathan is obtuse to a fault. As players gather life words to “sacrifice life,” they’ll learn of the absolutely bizarre. Talks of hit and runs, ancient Mayan descendents ruling the world, doubting reality while eating a ham sandwich, and learning the grim truth about third world labor for our favorite electronics might seem deep, but in reality it is unhinged. The game is artsy to a fault, and though this mysterious nature might lead to a feeling of uneasiness, it also feels unjointed at the same time. One could say that things are open to interpretation and can be seen in a number of different ways, but we felt that the overall storytelling was lacking when all was said and done.
The same goes for the core gameplay loop this game features. As players read the words in the sky and the ground, they move from one spot to the other, gathering fuel and kindling for the next fire. The same thing happens every time, and it oftentimes feels like busywork and nothing more. The occasional threat poses its head where players must keep quiet, but this too is obtuse and feels more cryptic than anything else. It is far too easy to get lost, and getting lost in a world where absolutely looks the same due to it being in black and white does not provide an entertaining experience.
It’s not like there is much to explore in the grand scheme of things, as The Imagined Leviathan runs for a brief 20 minutes. There are different messages that players can pass on at Steel Henge, but there is little variation between playthroughs since the story remains the same. There are also no achievements to speak of, though admittedly they would feel forced in a title like this.
The Imagined Leviathan tries something new with its monochromatic world and poetic prose, but the disjointed nature of its storytelling and its hollow gameplay prevent it from achieving the artistic vision the developers sought out to achieve.
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