OK, So Here’s: The Plan

By Nathan Grayson on February 13th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Oddly, this game about a fly that looks somewhat like Limbo contains significantly fewer horrifying spider appendages than Limbo. Go figure.

Today I learned that it’s really hard being a fly. People are always like, “Man, what I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall during that conversation,” but they don’t know. They can’t even begin to fathom the maddening struggles of day-to-day… er, millisecond-to-millisecond fly life. Spider webs, errant gusts of wind, leaves detaching in a gentle dance of death, twisting and sailing to signal your doom. But, thanks to Krillbite (they of creepy crawly baby crawler Among The Sleep), you can now see the world through a fly’s hideously compound eyes. Well, OK, actually you can’t, because The Plan‘s a third-person game, but that’d be near-impossible to control anyway. There’s plenty of atmosphere to make up for it, though. Oh, and booming orchestral music. We can’t forget that.

The Plan’s short but impressive, and – this can’t be stressed enough - absolutely nothing like what we’ve seen of Among The Sleep so far. There’s no horror or, really, any central driving force to speak of. Instead, you just kind of fly upward, occasionally weaving between gasp-inducingly gigantic leaves and other obstacles, until… well, let’s just say the ending’s pretty fantastic. I sort of saw it coming, but I’m still glad Krillbite decided to go in that direction.

This one will only last you 10-15 minutes, but it’s moodier than a quivering lip, and I can only describe the general vibe as “serenely hopeless.” It’s an odd pairing, but The Plan manages to convey the grim inevitability of this fly’s goal in a way that’s almost comforting. Or is it? Everything felt so effortlessly natural – like it’s what I was supposed to be doing – but in retrospect, what if I just stopped and did something else? It’s that space in the mechanics for thought and interpretation that I appreciate most here. The Plan won’t break your brain, but it’s a nicely contemplative journey.

Little things, too, build on themselves to achieve a much larger end: the way the camera pulls out to emphasize your bite-sized vulnerability, the fly’s flailing when things like wind and spider webs come into play, the trickle of music that builds into a tidal wave. It’s tough to explain, but the short version is, I recommend it. There are some irritating invisible walls that fling a wrench into an otherwise tightly tuned immersion machine, but the overall effect remains intact. The Plan doesn’t make any bones about being an Art Game, and it could maybe stand to vary things up a little more, but it’s no dud. Even if it doesn’t quite soar, it definitely flies.

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28 Comments »

  1. Low Life says:

    The internet has truly made me a horrible person. I click the link, see it’s free and then see that one little caveat.. download. But I want to play it now, I don’t want to download anything!

    Just 10 years ago I went through the hassle of going to the library for internet access, downloading mods there and storing them on floppy disks, often having to split the files on multiple disks, just to see a disk get corrupted and having to do it all over again the following day. But when I got to play those mods (mostly for Max Payne) it really was worth it.

    What has become of me? I’ll download this in an attempt to make myself a better person.

    • Buckermann says:

      TL;DR

      ;)

    • Dataflashsabot says:

      @Low Life: Yeah, that’s the state of things at the moment. With various Web technologies like Flash/WebGL/HTML5/Unity, nobody’s willing to do take a few extra seconds to save+extract anymore. It’s unfortunate; I’m working on a game in C++ and I have to face the fact that a whole lot of people will skip past it.

  2. abandonhope says:

    Was the plan to blackscreen and force a reset? Last time this happened I was trying to run a game from 1996. Blackscreen once, shame on–shame on you. Blackscreen–you can’t get blackscreened again.

  3. Fanbuoy says:

    Thanks for the tip! It’s nice to see this type of game generate some buzz.

  4. akstro says:

    Can you finally fly out of the window though?

  5. FrostySprite says:

    I enjoyed it, but one thing I didn’t really get were the Pillars of Creation and the stars near the end. Too deep for me. Looked pretty, though.

  6. amateurviking says:

    Things that tell me I need some time off work number 274:

    my first reaction to this was ‘that’s an anatomically incorrect fly’ followed by ‘or a wasp missing a pair of wings’

    I need a vacation.

  7. rapchee says:

    is it only me or would an insect-simulator be fun? i mean arma-like sim
    especially after i played the game and wow flies are a lot quicker. i really did enjoy this though.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      It is certainly not only you. I think there should be loads of animal simulators. Wolf pack simulator! Whale simulator! Butterfly simulator! Do it someone, please.

      • j6m says:

        “Wolf pack simulator!”

        This close enough?

      • Baines says:

        I want to recall reading about a spider simulator many years ago, but I don’t know if it was ever released, or even ever any good.

        The Wii had Deadly Creatures, where you played as a spider and a snake. Apparently not quite shovelware, even though it wasn’t great. Not really a sim, either. I think it had some story about a bank robber or something. Also not really a sim would be the PS3′s Tokyo Jungle, where you play an animal in a human-less post-apocalyptic Tokyo. At least I’m pretty sure it isn’t really sim territory when a Pomeranian can take down a hippo.

        • rapchee says:

          wow tokyo jungle looks interesting, now i have 3 games/reasons for a ps3 lol (well, not counting remakes)
          also wow Deadly Creatures, that’s a 1st reason though for the wii
          ign on youtube says the protagonists (i mean the tarantula and scorpion) are “ultra creepy” lol. but definitely doesn’t look like shovelware
          there was a ps1 spider action platformer, i don’t remember the title… oh lol it’s “spider, the video game”. there was some wall climbing but mostly rocket shooting instead of spinning webs, so yeah not exactly simulator, but perhaps it’s not the one you remember
          okay, i think i slightly modify my statement -
          it would be awesome to get a serious insect simulator, but it would be great to get these on pc too

    • DestructibleEnvironments says:

      I know it’s not quite the same, but some months ago some guys tried to pitch an Ants MMO. It sadly failed miserably. :( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1774852484/the-ant-experiment-an-mmo

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        It’s kind of a shame that it missed its target by such a ludicrous amount. Sounded fairly interesting.
        I also enjoyed the line: “Imagine for a moment you are one of the simplest creatures on the planet…” Luckily, I don’t have to imagine that.

  8. LennyLeonardo says:

    I liked this a lot. The ending is really great, as is the music. Also, did anyone notice the little Ocarina of Time voice sample on the title screen? Memories.

  9. Hauskamies says:

    I felt a very weird dread as I became smaller and smaller and went higher and higher and then at the end when that… that thing appeared. I was actually scared.

  10. Jackablade says:

    If, like me, you’re not in a position to be downloading nifty looking games, here’s a little something to get you in the blowfly mood
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfmshUzDnxk

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Wow, that’s great, thanks. I’ve just realised that I used to love Cornelius’ song Drop when it was on MTV2′s late-night weirdness show many years ago. He’s really good.

  11. sub-program 32 says:

    This may sound stupidly artistic, but this game geniunely changed how I thought about flies. Just by putting myself into the perception of one. Especcially regarding the final…thingy.

  12. Toupee says:

    It was a nice way to spend five minutes, and I appreciated the atmosphere, the fly animation, the music. I wish there was more here, though. The gameplay is pretty limited to “just keep going up,” and I think there’s a lot more thematic, interactive stuff that could be done. Heck, I even sat in the web for a while because I was hoping a spider would at least peek his head out.

    Very cool, but feels like a tease that makes me want something chewier.

  13. Xzi says:

    Now I feel like flies have a more fulfilling life than me. Or, at the very least, their lives have a more epic soundtrack.

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