By Jordan Nelson
Pony Island. It sounds like something that my young cousins would be into. The artwork for it is bright and happy, making it look better suited for the innocent and flowery type of player. Yet this game is anything but what you would expect.
First off, you are playing a character playing an arcade game (Pony Island), and you learn very little about who your character really is. As you start to play, the game is just strange. Filled with blank spaces and having to solve a puzzle before you can even really start the game, we soon encounter the thing that makes this game stand out. Satan. You read that right, SATAN. Inside this fluffy art work there is a triad of demons keeping hundreds, if not thousands, of souls from ever escaping. Trapped within the game of Pony Island, these souls can only be freed after you beat the game. A mixture between puzzles and arcade style simplicity, this game has some surprising hurdles to beat. Not to mention, the game drags your morality and perception into question. There are instances where the game appears to freeze in an attempt to get you to lose a challenge, or steam notifications show up that aren’t actually there.
This game is fun, and attempting to solve these riddles while talking to another soul stuck in the game is intense. He is never named but guides you to the very end of the game, and once you reach the end he lays a very disheartening truth upon you. He is stuck in the game, the game saved on your hard drive. Do you continue to replay and attempt to get all the achievements, prolonging his suffering? Or do you delete the game, and free him from his agony?
I had a ton of fun playing this game, even if I did get frustrated with some of the more alluding puzzles. My only issue with it was that it was too short. It only took me a few hours to complete, and left me with many unanswered questions. Who was my character? Why was he significant? Why is Satan developing games? Does he have anything else in the works? Why did Satan make a game about ponies and butterflies, not dragons and demons? Who was the soul that was guiding me? How did he know so much? Hopefully the developer decides to make another game in the series and answers some of these questions.