In recent times, the definition of a “game” has been under scrutiny and debate as more and more developers are starting to push the envelope (or pull it back, as detractors would say). This was definitely the case when Gone Home first came out, and critics generally praised it for its poignancy while gamers raged about how it’s merely a “walking simulator”. That squabble is just about to get even hotter with this particular “game”.
Mountain is an art house game made to be a simulator of sorts by David O’Reilly. It basically simulates a mountain floating in an empty space, complete with trees, grass, weather, and day-to-night cycles. You get to watch the mountain change and grow, depending on what happens whenever you’re running the game. You can have the game sit there and check on it from time to time to see what happens to your mountain.
This game has drawn some controversy, especially in Steam among the users. It’s not a bad game per se, but all you’ll see in the Steam store page of this game is “Not Recommended” due to people complaining about how it’s not a game in the strict sense. Most of that is true in that all this game mostly does is have the mountain spin around slowly, so it’ll be absolutely boring for those who are not into stuff like this.
When you first start the game, you are given some blank white slates to draw on, each with something indicated on top of the screen for you to draw. It’s mostly a psychoanalytic kind of thing that helps with the randomization of the game to follow. You are then presented with this mountain floating in the middle of space with its own atmosphere and all, and you get to watch things happen. This is where first-time users of this title will start to find it a bit weird.
Every now and then, you get to see things happen, mostly text appearing on the top corner of the screen, weather changes, and objects falling from the sky. You can zoom in and out, as well as press keys on the keyboard to come up with sounds that you can then turn to music, like a piano or synthesizer built in the game. But then, you realize that there’s nothing much going on other than just the slow rotation and random stuff going on from time to time. Maybe you’d want to exit it after you get bored with it and think that you’ve been ripped off.
But the point here is that you can keep it running on your desktop to see what happens next. It’s like a Tamagotchi, the virtual pet toy from back in the late 90′s that you can carry around and check on every now and then. In this case, it’s more like a desktop toy that you can check up on every now and then, and you may be surprised at what the mountain looks like after a few hours, like what foreign objects have lodged themselves on it or what the weather is at the moment and so on.
Take note though, it’s still not really a game in either the strict definition of the word or what most people would expect per se. That line was already thin enough when the developers of games like Gone Home and Dear Esther had walked on it, but this title doesn’t even make a case for it at all. It’s a little desktop toy; a good one but still not a full game.
If you’re still thinking of whether you want to get this title, just see it this way — if you think that EVE Online is a good game, then you may find this interesting. For a dollar, this is a nice desktop toy of sorts that you can run every now and then for some flavor. It’s not really much of a game, which is why it’s a 5 out of 10 here, but it’s not to say that it’s badly made at all.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 5/10