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Author: Ian Beck
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Quick and dirty: tranquility is unlike any other game ever made, and is, to put it simply, basically awesome. Try it out.

Download the demo here.

The actual review:

There are very few really creative games out there, when you come right down to it. You can take basically any game and describe it by describing the games that it's like. It's an RPG along the lines of Baldur's Gate; it's a first person shooter like every first person shooter ever made; it's a sports game.

And then there's tranquility. I don't really know what this would be classified as. Maybe one-of-a-kind. Quite honestly, there is nothing quite like it.

The premise is very, very weird. You are floating in space above a relatively small floor with a grid on it. There are a varying amount of multicolored floating geometric platforms moving around in patterns. By bouncing off platforms, maneuver to hit a colorful "spinner."

Needless to say, this isn't quite like anything else out there. No competition, no violence, just you in space trying to hit a spinner in order to advance to the next "realm."

To be quite honest, it doesn't sound that great. But that's only because when describing tranquility it is impossible to due it the credit it deserves.

This is a freaking awesome game.

Believe it or not, it is incredibly addictive. Rooms are created by the tranquility server and then sent in small packages to your computer (and they are very small, the load time is minimal). As you play the server learns what your style is, and tailors levels to relfect this. Each level has three rooms, each with seven spinners you must hit, and when you hit the seventh spinner, you advance to the next level room. With seven spinners to the room, three rooms to the level, seven levels to the realm, and twenty-one realms that you can eventually play, there is plenty of tranquility to experience.

The server also creates music to accompany the rooms, and each platform makes a distinct sound when you bounce off of it or move through it. The platforms have a huge diversity of shapes, although different levels have different shapes that occur more often, and they are very colorful, shifting in patterns between colors. The combination of the colors, shapes, patterns, and music works to pull you into the game.

What makes the game strangely addicting is the challenge of moving to hit the spinner. You can move with your mouse in any direction, and there is a light gravity. Additionally, by clicking you can propel yourself downwards faster. By aiming at platforms you bounce gently about the screen, maneuvering to hit the spinner. The normal speed reactions of other games are not required, and in fact can be detrimental. Instead, tranquility forces you to relax and become totally immersed in order to do well. This tranquil state of mind is the point of the game, really, according to the tranquility website; that and the happiness or contentment that can go along with it.

Of course, it isn't all some sort of meditative experience. The need for control and relaxation can sometimes make it quite irritating. Platforms don't always cooperate with your movements, and there is often a different trick to the different levels. If at first you don't succeed, however, the server is quite willing to create a new level, and in my experience playing the game the new level often has decreased the difficulty slightly or integrated a shape that you are more used to.

The price can't be argued with, either. For $24 you get a lifetime membership, and for the amount of fun that you can get from this game that is definitely not a bad price.

I've been playing tranquility for the last couple of months, and it just doesn't get old. I really can't stress how different and involving this game can be.

Why the rating: tranquility is a visual, auditory, and gameplay experience unlike any other. With a free limited membership to try it out, and a gameplay experience that can appeal to any age, this game is not one to leave untried. It may not be quite the thing for everyone, perhaps, with it's need for finely controlled motor movements, but it is nonetheless a beautiful and unique experience, and thus fully deserving full marks.

Try tranquility. You likely won't regret it.

Edit: I've adjusted my rating for this game; I would give this game a 10, but the truth is that it will not appeal to everyone, and the price could be slightly daunting for some. I originally was going to rate it an 8 instead, but because it is so unique (which is definitely a pro in my book), I've bumped it up to a 9. Since it's shareware, you should try the demo, and feel free to form your own opinion.

Posted on July 15, 2004 at 8:37 pm
Games Playing:
Star Chamber
Kill Monty
Feeding Frenzy 2/16/2005
Gish 8/26/2004
tranquility 7/15/2004
Creepy Mines 2.5 6/11/2004
iConquer 5/27/2004
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