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Ahh the beauty of Indie games. 2016 has been an incredible year for me in terms of Indie games I have had the chance to find and play, both old and recent. The games I have played throughout 2016 had helped remind me time and time again of my passionate love for video games and my never ending search for the next story.
Although released in 2016, Mandagon was the indie game that started 2017 for me, and oh boy was it one hell of a beautiful game!
Created by developer Blind Sky Studios, a small UK games studio composed of four coffee loving people, Mandagon is a short and free indie, adventure and pixel styled game inspired by Tibetan theology and philosophy, in which the focus is Bardo, the Tibetan word or version for “Limbo”.
In Mandagon you play as a sort of statue or part of a totem, and you explore and climb a sort of temple, in which you are given samples of a story about a man, his daughter, and a choice. Although Mandagon is quite straightforward in its gameplay and purpose, a rather simple and not particularly challenging gameplay of hopping your way to the top and around to access the inside of a temple, the mystery of the story is what will give you the desire to keep hoping, to find out what is on the other side, and, ultimately, what will make you keep thinking about Mandagon even after you are finished with its story.
There are also two other elements of Mandagon that caught my attention and still has it, the aesthetic of the game and its soundtrack. Although simplistic at first glance, Mandagon is an incredibly gorgeous game in which I encourage you to stop at times and observe your surroundings. See how tapestries move with the wind, the birds flapping their winds, and every other sparkle of colour and detail that were a very welcomed surprised for a free game. The soundtrack of Mandagon was also a surprise. A single 22-minute composition seemingly designed for you to meditate your way through the universe, the story and the game, with themes of contemplation and sacrifice. Though available for free on steam at the moment, a digital art book, soundtrack and extras are available as a package for 4.43$ on steam, which I highly recommend not only because it’s awesome, but because I truly believe that Mandagon has too much to offer to be a free game.
In the hour or so that I spent in its universe, surrounded by its music and its themes or death, life, purpose and sacrifice, Mandagon gave me more than hours and hours long games have been giving me: it gave me an experience.
10/10 – Will purchase the art and OST package, and would purchase anytime if it means putting my money where it belongs, in the pocket of true artists.