Hi, my name is Oliver and this is my first entry on this website. I have to tell you that I love to daydream, sink into fantasy and having talks with myself about daily stuff. But surely, you’ll ask: Why the heck are you telling me this?
It’s simple: The link between two worlds – fantasy and reality – is dreaming. The older we get, the more we lose that ability. In our childhood, we are dreaming of fairytales and mysteries and how to be the hero or the heroine. And that’s what Uri – The Sprout of Lotus Creek, the first game of Malaysian indie studio DreamTree Games, is about.
You are starting the game as a kid with a red cape – introduced to you as Uri –, who is learning how to use ancient runes to control the world around you. Along this process, and during the whole game, Uri is constantly walking from the left to the right, to simulate the flow and movement of parkour. But that is the tricky part of the game: You can’t control Uri himself/herself. As you can see above, you have four runes, which are hidden in the menu buttons of the game: Pause, Sound on/off, Exit and Reset. Each one has a special ability, necessary to solve the riddles and successfully face Uri’s destiny. But be careful: If you use a rune, your health meter decreases by one. Often, the game doesn’t give you much space to solve a puzzle – sometimes, you’ll have to use the Restart ability to reset the screen and get back to full health.
A few scenes later, you’ll learn a bit about the second layer of the story – the reality. All the levels are arranged in chapters of a fairytale, containing several of Uri’s adventures along his/her journey to get the bloom and glory of Lotus Creek back. So, your role as a player is unknown, but could be explained as a mix of different aspects: As director or narrator of the story, as god which guides his fellow on his way to fulfill his/her destiny and sometimes only as the viewer or reader.
There you are – on a journey, where the line between reality and fairytale is blurry and you have to guide Uri using the ancient runes, accompanied by beautiful music and picturesque settings. Still, there is this innovative idea to control a character that makes the game interesting for every little riddle and had me at the first second. Along the journey, the first chapters have a leading topic, introducing the runes, puzzles and their abilities together. This leads to enjoying brain work, so that I had to think twice or more often about how to get the little bird out of the cage (see following screenshot).
At first sight, this passively controlled indie platformer is a blast with its gorgeous screens and the ability to tell stories without any audio sample or too many words. Every little chapter has a story, only told by pictures or a few sentences – and it works. The colors keep it magical and are evoking memories of the stories of Scheherazade.
But sadly, the game has a few shadowy parts too and you should know them if you’re interested to dive right into the game. Because Uri is constantly walking from the left to the right side, it may sometimes be a little bit frustrating if your timing isn’t right or one of the ancient runes is a bit buggy or not well placed on the screen. This leads to trial-and-error, when you know the solution but have to reset the screen again and again. Sometimes, this is caused by Uri getting stuck on the screen. The parkour aspect and the dynamics behind it are lacking a bit of polish because of the problems mentioned above. Furthermore, the game can be solved in around two hours, so you shouldn’t expect this game to be more than a little but tasty snack.
All in all, if your own daydreams are annoying and you can handle the kind of typical starting problems of new indie game studios, you should get Uri – The Sprout of Lotus Creek on iOS (App Store) or Android (Google Play) and witness the short story of a hero and his/her adventures.