Not all games need to go 100 miles a minute. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take time and present an experience that is meant to be slow and steady. There are walking simulators, narrative adventures, and visually-stimulating platforming games that encourage you to take your time and take in everything that the game has to offer. Games like Flower and Journey showed us how it could be down and now Scarf by Uprising Studios is attempting to do the same. It’s a mostly visual journey through various worlds with unusual magic at play. You’ll only learn the whole story if you’re willing to look for all the pieces.
Why The Long Scarf?
Sometimes fewer words can be more effective at conveying a story than tons of them. As long as you have clear and distinct visuals, it’s possible to understand even the most complex narratives. This story has some text and narration to accompany it, but the view takes center stage. You play as a nameless being referred to as the hero who comes into being in the middle of an ocean. After emerging, you encounter a dragon-like creature that bonds to you and forms a scarf around your neck. Using a combination of the Scarf’s powers and your physicality, you must travel to different realms to take back the energy that will revive the Scarf’s mother. It’s a mysterious journey that makes you want to uncover the story behind it all.
A Soft And Comfortable Weave
When making a scarf, you want to make sure that all the threads are interwoven in a lovely way that also offers comfort. The weavers behind Scarf understand this and it carried over into their gameplay. The story is woven in well with the adventure. There are a lot of little details and clues to give you a sense of something much bigger than is readily apparent. As you progress, things begin to build and get more serious which goes well with the theme of uncertainty. The plot reveals itself in a subtle yet noticeable way.
The visuals are a key part of the story. Almost all the characters are rounded and smooth which contrasts with the other significant assets. The clash between the Scarf and the hero makes for an interesting contrast that remains with you throughout the course of the game. The worlds give a sense of richness while also feeling empty. The structures themselves feel out of place and the fact that they’re falling apart adds to the overall mystery.
The relationship between the Scarf and the Hero is an important aspect of the story and the game. There are multiple moments where the Scarf acts on its own which really makes it feel like a separate being rather than just an accessory.
A Bit Too Tight
Nobody likes clothes to be too tight and when it comes to scarves, being too tight can be dangerous. Unfortunately, there are times where Scarf is pulling the ends a bit too hard. This can be felt on a technical level. Both the hero and other characters moving around have no friction to them. Though they have running animations, they look like they’re sliding across surfaces. There are also assets like small animals which move lifelessly across the environment making it feel unnatural.
This also carries over to the controls. The hero doesn’t move very quickly and has very short jump heights which can make platforming a pain. However, the frictionless appearance can actually be felt in the movement. The hero has a slide to their movement which has a tendency to make them drift while moving around. It’s also very jarring whenever the game goes into scripted segments that glue the hero to a single path. When this happens, you better hope there’s nothing in your way.
Finally, the puzzles are extremely repetitive. There’s fun and beauty to be had in exploring, but actually navigating through areas is more of a chore than a challenge. The game only presents a handful of challenges and repeats them throughout the adventure. Many of them can be solved with little to no effort which is only made worse by how long some of the processes take to finish.
Scarfing It Down
Scarf is a 3D platform puzzle game about retrieving energy from several vibrant worlds with the help of a living scarf. It presents a lovely world with a visually interesting story and the relationship between two very different beings. It suffers from a lot of technical issues, slippery gameplay, and repetitively easy puzzles. Though, if you’re looking for something light and colorful, a scarf may be the right fit for you.
TechRaptor reviewed Scarf on PC using a copy provided by the developer.
- Soft and colorful presentation
- An interesting story supported by creative visuals
- A solid relationship that carries you through the adventure
- Problems with animation syncing up with movement
- Slippery and limiting gameplay that hurts platforming
- Lack of variety in puzzles that are a bit too easy