I typically enjoy perusing the new releases of Indie games on Steam, as you never know what you are going to find. I am always on the lookout for promising and affordable concepts, and I definetly found that in Meadow.
Meadow is an environmental explorative MMO. Yes, I did say MMO. The game throws you as an animal into a vast world with almost no explanation, and you will work together with others to collect various forms of “essence”, unlocking emotes, skins, and completely new animals.
A lot of games explain too much and don’t let you discover anything on your own. This isn’t always a bad decision but can be a fatal mistake for combat free games. The exploration is accentuated by a lack of communication to your fellow players, this has pros and cons. The lack of communication does a good job of making you feel on your own even though you are working with others. It also adds to the sense of wonder and accomplishment when you discover how something works together. It also feels satisfying when a fellow animal is able to communicate to you how something works, making you feel a sense of bonding with your fellow players. The downside is that this doesn’t always mesh well with the gameplay, and I couldn’t always communicate what I needed to with the relatively low amount of communication options.
the lack of sounds, other than the fantastic music and occasional chirp made by a fuzzy, scaly, or feathery friend, helps add to the atmosphere and ambiance of wonder that you get from Meadow. This leads into the amazing and unique art the game provides.
The look of the game resembled me, that of a quilt. Everything from the ground to the trees, to the sky, is patchy and uses slight shifts in hue from one another. This is like nothing I have seen before, and I really like it. Some people I played with didn’t love it quite as much as I did, but I didn’t hear any complaints about it. You will be hearing this a lot, but it helps to add to the feeling of exploration in the game. Even though this is fairly similar to that of Earth, with creatures like frogs and birds populating the world, I still found the world to look unique and feel different to that of Earth.
The game doesn’t have a lot to it, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The content that is there is well polished, and I never found myself overwhelmed with the game. I do believe this isn’t for everyone, and I feel some people will get bored quickly with this. I personally enjoyed putting on a podcast and exploring this world. The content is mostly walking around and finding other animals to collect the essence for new animals (which requires finding a certain rock and being in a group of 2 or more). This group work is really useful and is helped by a few factors
No “I” in Team
The teamwork in this game is obviously a central focus in the game, and the devs know and worked to optimize this. Things like the essence you collect being able to be collected by everyone instead of one person, and certain essences being only able to be collected by a group all work to make teamwork a viable option. I had a lot of genuine fun with my group and was sad when I had to eventually leave the game, feeling I had left friends even though I had never said a word to them. Most indie games; or games for that matter, don’t have the ability to trigger these emotions, and certainly, no game I have played has done this.
Meadow provides a stellar experience, but it definetly is not for everyone. Fans of so-called “walking simulators” will love this experience, and most people probably will also, and for only $2.99, this “forum in games clothing” is definetly worth a play.