Considering the number of big games that release one after another nowadays — particularly during the holiday season — palette cleansers have become almost essential in order to keep things fresh. Voyage, a beautiful 2D title about the journey rather than demanding gameplay mechanics, plays that role perfectly.
In a two-hour quest that leaves you with more questions than answers, you'll control two characters as they explore a strange and entrancing world packed full of visual spectacle. The game can be played alone or with a friend, but gameplay remains light no matter how many controllers are connected. You'll control one of the two characters (the other follows you in single player), pushing onwards with the left thumbstick and regularly stopping to push or pull an object to the right place.
There are a few other things you can do: the two characters can be switched between and the Triangle button highlights things you can interact with. That's all there is to Voyage, but that's sort of the point. This is a title you can sit back and relax with as you take in the gorgeous graphics and soothing tones of the soundtrack.
That trance is broken, however, in a few scenes that go on for too long. Pushing a boat to water and pulling a boulder into the right place are common tasks, and you can spend upwards of a minute completing them. We quite literally mean just holding the X button and pushing the left thumbstick to the right; all you have is the music to zone out to. In a game already so short, these objectives take up so much more time than they need to.
The visuals, atmosphere, and sheer spectacle are the true stars of the show, though, with some utterly stunning art to take in and sleek, gorgeous animations to transition you between it. With a tranquil soundtrack and funky effects giving the backdrops life, it almost becomes a game you could fall asleep to. In a good way, that is.
Perhaps the only blemish, then, is the character design. The twosome don't really match up with the art style they're walking through; their depictions look simplistic compared to what's around them. However, they don't take away from what is a pleasant — if a bit too basic — adventure you could get through in an afternoon.