There are few video games that have moved me to tears. Shelter's brutally beautiful ending did it, Arkham City's closing phone call did it, and so did Silent Hill 4's final moments with Walter Sullivan.
And when I realised what the game is actually about, Prune did it too.Green fingers
Rather than discuss the finer points of the game's themes, which are best discovered organically, it's more important to talk about how Prune conveys its narrative, and what makes it so special.
Each stage begins with you planting a seed with a tap, and sprouting a tree from it with a drag.
It's then up to you to sculpt and direct the tree with swipes so that it grows out of the darkness and into the light where it can blossom. Grow enough blossoms and you move onto the next stage.
There are no time limits and, crucially, no words to explain what you should be doing. Just a couple of visual motifs early on to convey the basics of planting and pruning.
This is really important, because you come to realise that Prune is more than just a game about cultivation, it's also about meditation.
Including a bunch of text to read through, or forcing timed challenges upon the player, would snap you out of this fluid state of mind.Rise above
You'll find yourself ruminating on a puzzle, and as this happens, the zen-like score washes over you, and your consciousness begins to wander.
Everything simultaneously feels organic enough to be natural, yet structured enough to be controllable.
You begin to recognise and contemplate the themes of Prune, you see the changes in the landscapes, and what they might mean. Both within the game and in the wider world outside of the touchscreen device you're playing on.
In the final, uncomfortable, devastating act you understand the true magnitude of what is being discussed here.
It's an experience that truly moved me, and I think it'll move you as well.
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