Pulse, is a game without vision. And for once, that’s not a slam. Being blind in a video game isn’t exactly a new idea, but Pulse manages to take the sensation of having a sense stripped away, and inject it with some colourful new ideas. As well as some devious traps.
Let me lay some of the story down for you quickly, before we carry on further. Pulse has players assume the role of Eva, a young girl who happens to be blind. Eva has managed to make do with the fact that her eyes aren’t working, and she can technically “see”, with some form of echo-location.
It’s kind of like the vision used by Daredevil, but with far groovier visuals bathed in technicolour pulses of pschedelic information that she receives whenever her environment makes some sort of noise. And from there, you’re guiding Eva on a perilous pilgrimage of sorts.
And it’s a disconcerting journey.
Just because you can see in a sense, doesn’t make Eva’s journey any easier. The world is darkness, with players needing to create their own audio-ripples in order to find their way. And toss adorable Mokos (They look like a chubby version of Mort from Madagascar) everywhere, to see what’s ahead.
And that’s Pulse really. It’s not the longest game on the digital shelf, and it can be beaten in around two hours or so. Hell, there’s even an achievement for completing it in less than 30 minutes. So make of that what you will.
It does have moments of brilliance however, with the frozen lake segment being a work of pure, tense art. Beyond that, you’ve got some tricky first-person platforming to manage, while keeping your eye on the prize in the void that surrounds you.
And it’s the kind of game, that I can actually identify with. Because I know how precious having eyesight is.
I was never blind or disabled, but as a kid, my ocular clarity was blurrier than Puddle of Mudd’s best song. My eyesight was so bad (short-sighted to boot), that anything more than a few centimetres away from my face looked like low resolution abstract art.
And when you’ve got to navigate the absolutely hellish pit of high school wearing shaped plate-glass on your face, that looked like it was stolen from Benny Bookwurm, you know that your vision can vanish instantly thanks to the various jackasses around you swiping your spectacles.
But again, I wasn’t properly blind. Just on the verge of it. And the happiest moment of my life came from having the bandages removed from my head and getting a blast of proper 4K ultra high definition vision naturally, after I had had my peepers sliced and lasered into 20/20 perfection a decade ago.
So Pulse speaks to me. I understand the protaganist. As a game, Pulse is a great concept. It has a minimalist use of colour, the sound design is top notch and ties into the core concept of the game beautifully.
It’s just not the longest of games, nor does it boast a properly engaging story. As an experiment, I dig it.
But it’s hard to see it as being more than that.
Last Updated: October 21, 2015