I'm still pining for Prey 2, but Bernband has sated that desire a little. It's a walking simulator set in an alien city, all stark architecture, colourful lights, and noise. Lots of noise. Trains roar past, flying cars zip overhead, machinery churns, and crowds all mutter and growl as you gawp at them. It's a low-fi version of everything that excited me about Prey 2's world, and you don't even kill anyone. It's out now, it's free, and it has the most delightfully waggly first-person hand animation you've ever seen.
Bernband has us exploring "the city of the pff." Though it's made of small sections connected by elevators (and other paths I'll leave you to find), it feels big. You'll wander from a nightclub to a subway to a skybridge to an aviary, through loud crowds and down lonely corridors, stumbling across revellers, school classes, public urinators, and other strange strangers. All the while, your footsteps tippy-tap and your hands wobbly-waggle. Whatever species we play as, they are adorable.
The low-fi look, a forced low-res filter, blown-out sound, and simple AI drag Bernband so far into the abstract and imagination that it feels jolly real and exciting. I've wandered for a good 20 minutes and know I still have more to discover. I'll find that church yet. Watch out for that mouse sensitivity, chums: it'll have you turned right round.
Made by Tom van den Boogaart, Bernband is a free download on Game Jolt.