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