I like Secret Habitat. I like it an awful lot. I’ve been playing this latest from Strangethink Software for a fortnight and I keep returning to see more but it’s taken me this long to post because I want to do right by it. Oh, this’ll have to do! Secret Habitat is wonderful and special, okay?
It’s a free walking simulator on a procedural island covered in procedural art galleries with procedural layouts and procedural wallpaper and procedural collections of procedural artwork with procedural names by procedural artists, accompanied by procedural sound exhibits.
Secret Habitat goes down on a weird island covered in weird, stark buildings that I’d happily explore even if they weren’t art galleries. Each floor of each gallery houses a collection of procedural art which, well, I say is by a procedural artist. They seem to use a similar algorithm, or similar parts, or similar something, as colours, patterns, and other motifs repeat across them; you can recognise they’re part of a series. Seeing different spins on common themes can be delightful, and it’s awfully exciting when you discover one painting very different to the rest of its set – yeah, I’ve gasped.
I also like how Secret Habitat has thought put into its walking. Inside galleries we’re reverential, stepping gently (I’d swear it differentiates between the shuffles and full steps of gallery-walking), but outside we run wild and free. Art deserves respect, you know. Or… you know, you could have a fun/infuriating chat about where exactly the art lies in Secret Habitat, and if it contains individual pieces of art or it’s all one thing or which part is the most art or… Me, I like staring out windows as if they frame paintings; is there a distinction between the landscape and paintings?
Naturally, a new island and new art are generated each time you load Secret Habitat. Oh, and the game masks all this generation behind a procedural quote. How very splendid.