Quick Thoughts On: Stories at the dawn

Stories at the dawn is beauty in restrained minimalism. There’s no audio, no dialogue, characters are little more but vague blocks, and the world is but a small collection of platforms and transitions.

It’s in this lack of detail, in the meticulous omission of context or character, that I found something to love in Stories’ blank spaces. The limitations of its design made every detail feel far more crucial and intentional. I became lost in the stars of the background, not even blinking but somehow captivating me with their distance and constancy.

I encountered another character running from me and stories began to spring to my mind as to why they were here. Were they a fugitive I was chasing? A lover playing games? Or just scared that suddenly there were two of us filling the silence.

I could chase them and meet at the end, or turn back and let them find their own way. Your only means of directing Stories’ is choosing whether or not to move forward, and while this choice is binary and predetermined I was grateful for the option to choose my own path. It meant I had some say in how events played out, instead of just watching from afar as I prodded my character to continue rightward.

Stories at the dawn is only a few minutes long. It’s unclear to me right now if it’s finished or will potentially be something entirely different by the time you play it. The developer might have an entirely different vision for it than what I saw tonight, but that’s what I love about the space within art. With the absence of distinction what people see in it can take on a life of its own.

"Quick Thoughts" is a subset of my normal reviews for smaller games which might not fit into a full review but I still have something to say about.
Stories at the dawn was developed by YellowAfterLife and is available to play for free in your browser on itch.io.

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