The walking simulator genre has done pretty well for itself considering its very name was conceived partially out of dismissive mockery. The main drive for these games is often goalless exploration, which is a type of gameplay that commonly doesn’t lend itself to a world that’s tightly stitched to reality. But though surrealist themes and visuals don’t always welcome objective-based gameplay, they do offer a wide-open front door for surprise and beauty. And so here we are, watching the Kickstarter project video for Essence, and praising the walking simulator once more for its unending imagination.
The premise for the game seems to be that the further you make it, the more detailed and “realistic” the setting becomes. Your character doesn’t remember anything about themselves and now must trek through the bizarre unknown to unearth some semblance of cohesion in your existence. But now you may be asking me, “Yeah, but is the game any good?” To which I would reply, “How the hell’m I supposed to know?” It just looks nice, dawg. It just looks nice.