Reflections Early Access Impressions

The sun’s rays glisten through the window as I glance around my bedroom, devoid of any colour, with only dark, lonely shades visible at first. The overall feel of the room is a rather surreal one with emptiness an overwhelming factor. I move slowly forward and approach my desk, switching on the light but it barely illuminates the tiniest fraction of the desk, I begin to maneuver the first drawer, which greets me with a glint of yellow as colour begins to slowly emerge from the shade.

Inside the bottom drawer is a college letter, a quick look at the document and it was apparent that I needed to take this with me. Upon my desk lay an empty folder which I used to place the letter inside. I spent time interacting with the various objects within my small bedroom until I was greeted with an acoustic sound before watching the room fill with glorious colours.

Watch as objects come to life with every interaction

Reflections is a game based on the decisions we make in life, there is no fix on gender whether you want to be male or female throughout your journey, in life there are no set guidelines, the choices we make determine the paths we put our lives on and that is reflected in the choice of partner in the game. Players are not restricted to a heterosexual life, sexual orientation is open, the ability to be whoever you want to be is very clear, which is very appealing as it is an important part of life itself.

The game is broken down into different parts of the human life, with the first stage focused on your final day at home. You are alone in the house and are left to organise and pack the objects you want to take through with you onto the next stage of your life. Certain items can be interacted with such as light switches, drawers and pictures and it is these minor interactions that help bring colour and life to Reflections.

From a drab, lifeless room lacking any positive colour comes a wash of beautiful yet elegant tones that take the breath away. Players might be fooled into thinking that this is simply a case of paint by numbers but it is the objects you take the time to inspect that aid you in your life’s journey. For example, a square cardboard box sits on the floor directly in front of the main door in the house. With this box you can place items that will help plot which way your life goes. Whether you want to be known for a certain activity, maybe you’re into sports or just simply enjoy listening to music, whatever you put in the box, you take with you.

Every choice you make has a knock on effect, so choose wisely

I took the time to fully explore the house, bringing as many rooms to life as I could. I took my time going through the items before deciding what I wanted to take with me. I’m quite a sporty character so I made sure to leave with the American Football and Basketball but I also know that relationships are important and so took a framed picture of my girlfriend. You can of course choose to leave with nothing but that would leave you short of fully experiencing the game.

During my exploration of the family home I discovered many records which when placed upon the record player in the front room gave the game a very catchy and indie driven soundtrack with different records to fit your mood, the music, while playing can at times be heard all the way throughout the house. I spent some time playing darts in the main bedroom and even threw horseshoes in the back garden before skipping stones down at the lake. The final day at home is all about not having any regrets, making the time to do the things you want to do because, once you leave there is no coming back and you don’t want a life filled with regrets.

The difference between dark shades and colour make Reflections visually appealing

The next stage of your life is very dependant on how you spent your last few hours at home, if there were certain things that you didn’t do, those tiny but significant missed moments could greatly impact your life and that is what sets this game aside from others. Every little thing you do within the game has a ripple effect and follows you through to the next area.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”If you change the way you tell your own story, you can change   the colour and create a life in technicolour”.  – Isabel Allende[/pullquote]

Your life after those moments could vary from you being a high-flyer at a big office in the city, where you’ll help assist with paperwork and even deliver mail while attempting to be the model employee which might suit you, alternatively you could find yourself strolling around the national park while soaking in all the immense beauty that comes with it, walking through the woods while watching as your every footstep brings colour and life to the trees and grass is something of sheer beauty, like a Monet, desperately wanting to be filled with life.

The contrasting colours throughout the national park, notice the difference 

Overall, while still in Early Access and not without it’s bugs/glitches Reflections is a beautifully artistic take on life and the choices we make. The glorious concoction of everyday life immersed with the vast array of paintbrush like colours that comes from the simplest of touches, gives the game that uniqueness that many games lack. I believe with more development Reflections and more prominently Broken Window Studios will have firmly announced themselves in the world of gaming.

Reflections Gameplay

View of PC Reviewer Colin Lavery;

Mechanically the game is relatively solid, there are some excellent elements to the game. For example whenever an object is interacted with, it will change from the standard “greyscale” to being “colourised” and when a room is completed there is a nice effect and sound played. Whilst there are some issues with the mechanics it’s generally things such as the gravity not feeling quite right with regards to how thrown objects work.

Also whilst crouched you can lean left and right this doesn’t seem to serve a purpose from what I can tell, if this is the case the game would probably benefit from removal of this. There are a few bugs I discovered however this is to be expected on an early access release.

The only thing I would personally change, would be in the second “house level” I would make it much easier to perform the repainting task. For example a single touch of a paintbrush to a wall will colourise that entire section, the rooms may of course still contain multiple sections. Other nice effects are the ripples whenever a stone is thrown into the lake. As for soundtrack the game does contain some decent music tracks, the game does seem to be set in a certain era but I can’t quite place my finger on which era that is (best guess 1950s) but it is part of the overall aesthetic.

Coming across a waterfall at the National Park was some sight

Overall, Reflections is still extremely early in development, however it is worth noting that this is one of the very few games that has ever left me completely speechless. Additionally there are some very interesting philosophical points raised by the game which is something I never expected. Games like this are generally not “my cup of tea” but I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. Definitely worth a look.

Reflections

Reflections
8.5

Early Access Rating

9/10

    Pros

    • Wonderful contrast of colours after interaction
    • Reflects largely on real life
    • Multiple Choices is a great option
    • Would be perfect for Oculus Rift

    Cons

    • Some bugs/glitches, to be expected with early access

    About Daniel Pitt

    Profile photo of Daniel Pitt
    Dan has been gaming for nearly 30 years and has survived everything from Nuclear Fallouts to Zombie Outbreaks but his main love is Survival Horror and don't we all know it. Favourite games include Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, he can be regularly found cruising the streets of Vice City listening to the classics.

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