SHORT REVIEW: ONE AND ONE STORY

Nowadays it seems whenever there is a spare moment we are pulling out our smart phones or tablets to sneak in a few minutes a gaming. Even though the gaming app revolution has opened vast new horizons of procrastination, it is sometimes too easy to forget how it all started- with the humble, unassuming flash game. Long before we were downloading them, we were enjoying these free games through our web browser. Like the gaming app, the quality of flash games has increased since their inception. While there are fewer sizable companies producing flash games than there are app games, the field of flash games is far more open for the independent developer to shine through.

Sometimes a flash game evolves into something special and that game is One and One Story. Developed by Mattia Traverso, with at by Gabriele Bonis and music by David Carney, this game is already a Student Finalist in the Independent Games Festival. One and One Story can currently be found on ArmorGames, Kongregate, Newgrounds and MiniClip.

A puzzle game, with a seemingly simple dynamic, at its foundation One and One Story is a romance tale. On each game level there is a boy and a girl and the player’s role is unite them. In achieving their union, there are blocks to be pushed, spikes to be jumped over and deadly falls to avoid. The basic game controls are easy enough, left and right on the keyboard to move back and forth and up to make the boy or girl jump. When applicable, the letter “Z” allows the player to switch between the two.  Even though these as the basic controls, the dynamics of the controls vary as the story of the lovers’ progress.

Overall, three aspects of One and One Story elevate above your average tower defense or platformer.

First, the ambiance of One and One Story demonstrates a unique attention to mood and detail. The interplay of graphics and music strikes a haunting and beautiful atmosphere. The artists make wonderful use of negative space in their design. This negative space appears in the foreground of the game. The boy and girl, the blocks and spikes, all of them are blacked out and empty. It is the background where the subtle colors flair and the objects are more detailed in appearance. This shift in graphical focus from the action area to the area of non-action somehow highlights and draws the player to the interplay between the action and the story told between levels.

The game’s story is the second unique aspect that sets it apart. One and One Story has more in common with the silent film than it does with modern gaming blockbuster. The story is rolled in text between levels. The importance of text in video games goes without saying, but the simple lines belay a grander story between the boy and girl. Take it from a writer, the difficulty in storytelling most often lies not in precision, but concision, that is in telling the story and nothing but the story. The romance of the boy and girl is told on the text between levels in such a way that the player connects with the breadth of the experience. This also includes quotes by famous persons that are both insightful and poignant in their timing.

Lastly, in connecting to this small game’s elegant story is the manner by which the story events effects the gameplay. Now story driven gameplay is nothing new in the video game field, One and One Story does this in a literal yet unique manner. For instance, while the basic controls remain unchanged, in one part of the story the boy as narrator says, “When she saw me she ran to me.” This alters the pairs’ movement so when you move the boy, the girl responds by moving towards him and vice-versa. This adds some additional difficulty to the gameplay while drawing the player further into the story. The player becomes emotionally entangled in the story through this mechanism. Plus, the changing dynamics keeps the gameplay fresh when other puzzle games grow stagnant through the repetition.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the flash-based goliath Zynga posted revenue topping $311.2 million dollar. While perhaps not as soul sucking as FarmVille or CityVille, One and One Story delivers elegance and emotion without the burden of in-game purchases or corporate data mining. One and One Story also contains a Chapter Select function as well as a series of Bonus Levels. So take a moment between blockbusters to pick up this gem of a game, you won’t be sorry.

Written by Andrew

GD Star Rating
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SHORT REVIEW: ONE AND ONE STORY, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

3 Comments

  1. Coverage says:

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  2. […] If anyone is reading this they should checkout my review of the flash game One and One Story on Sitsam.com. The game was designed by a student in Italy and is of impressive quality seeing as its free. […]

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