Treeker: The Lost Glasses

The first sight in Treeker: The Lost Glasses is a beautiful one. Upon setting sail looking for the mysterious lost glasses you find yourself stranded on an island – one conveniently close to the desired item – after crashing into something invisible. You get up and across the water are a series of islands which contain the entirety of the game. Some traditional, some floating up above with a number of visible landmarks. It was an environment that immediately caught my attention and I was eager to begin exploring.

Treeker: The Lost Glasses is a first-person puzzle platforming game, with an emphasis on puzzle solving. You find the lost glasses within minutes and they give you the ability that will help you progress through the lands. Wearing these glasses allows the user to see what was previously unseen. The visuals contrast to when you're not wearing them; a night sky and brighter colours along with a level of grain overlay.

treeker

treeker

While the environment appears open ended the game is fairly linear. Typically, completing one puzzle will allow the player to progress to the next area. The world design is impressive in almost all sections. There is a lot of space and it feels like you are finding these puzzles rather than them being placed in front of you.

A game like this lives and dies on its puzzles and Treeker mostly succeeds. There are stones with hints and advice scattered along your journey which help with the surrounding puzzle. However, the translations from Portuguese aren't always smooth and it can be difficult to comprehend what they are trying to say. This is particularly intimidating at the beginning when you are unsure of what you need to do. An example of this was needing to remove a barrier to the glasses. A stone told me that 'it is always 3 o'clock on the island'. Setting a nearby sundial to that time had no effect so I wondered around a little bit. It was the required solution, but you needed to interact with the barrier in order for it to vanish.

The puzzles revolve around the two visual planes. Throughout the game the puzzles are varied and interesting, though often lacking in challenge. These are made up of simple jumping puzzles in which you switch views to see the next platforms, morse code clues, hidden object sections and a pretty nice music area. You won't see the same puzzle type twice in your play-through. There are several stages to each puzzle which makes up for the simplicity in a lot of them. There is satisfaction though when completing one and setting up the next transition.

treeker

Visually, Treeker is stunning. The bright, washed out colour palette that makes up the islands are a joy to behold. There is a simplicity in the shading and details which really work – similar to this year's Grow Home – and the design rarely leaves you feeling stranded without an idea which direction to go.

It took me a little over two hours to finish the game and I feel that's a good length. It allows the game to not repeat puzzle types and keep all the areas you travel to visible in one view at all times. The ending was anticlimactic – pretty much just finishing the last puzzle – but the game is about the journey, rather than the narrative. The final puzzle area was equally impressive and intimidating; a fitting finale.

There are a few bumps along the way: first-person platforming often have troubles and Treeker is no different. You'll find yourself falling to your demise many times while in the sections that require you to jump from platform to platform. Controls and movement are tight but judging distance is tricky. A section at night is a little too dark leaving you hugging the walls to be able to gage that you're moving. Using the glasses in this section does ease the difficulties however.

treeker

While a lot of the background music is nice, each piece is short and repeats frequently. There is also a bizarre inclusion of a well-known classical piece – Grieg's 'Morning from Peer Grynt - that seems very out of place. The familiarity of the piece conflicts with the feeling of the unknown as you explore the islands. Then, there are the aforementioned translation issues which can hinder early progress. Once you become more accustomed with the game's mechanics though, that no longer is a problem.

Treeker: The Lost Glasses was thoroughly enjoyable to play through. The game was made by just one person – Fernando Paulo. An impressive feat. Despite lacking in challenge, the exploration and satisfaction of competing each puzzle coupled with the fantastic visual design leave a memorable impression. This is one that fans of the genre should definitely take a look at.

4

In Short

  • + Wonderful visual design
    + Fun and varied puzzles that are satisfying to solve
    + Relaxing to play through

  • - Translation issues
    - Lacking in difficulty.
    - Awkward platforming sections

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