Preview – Project Bliss

“Follow your Bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

Project Bliss appeared under a month ago on Kickstarter, with a  goal of $150,000 the Enlightened Games team in Chicago envisioned a large budget but as ambitious of a project to match. Bliss strives to explore a world in need of healing although, the first segments of the available demo deliver a message closer to a personal discovery and development. As a pre-alpha it’s not possible to dig into the message as much as one might want, the focus is more on the general mood of each area.

The design elements of Bliss bring in a mixed pairing of animated despair, whimsy and chaos. The journey itself begins in darkness, the avatar locked in a cold dismal hollow, surviving by a flicker with an ominous red glow at the exit, intimidation of the unknown haunting the zone. Camera placement alters each scene, from top view, side pans and rear positioning, each adding their own dramatic effect.

Stepping outside the world is so vivid and pronounced, the colors drop one easily into a Zelda-esque environment. Taking on its own form of flat shading and design, Bliss operates on another level, harnessing the power of a world free from conventional design, embracing a world that defines itself simply by potential instead of a fixed factor. The first play of Bliss was fast, I jumped through the world in a moment, when I came through to explore and feel the world I realized I missed an entire interactive section of the game. The nature of the design masks some paths available but it lives up to the inspiration that Bliss will open doors, I genuinely missed an entire floating section of islands.

The demo closes on a darker note, the Bull delivers a chaotic outlook, red paints the world, our avatar’s stature changes again, no longer embracing a free motion and instead afraid to make that next step. A roar settles through the atmosphere and we’re whisked back into the start.

Bliss offers a potential that feels fresh, the world is up to the player, the experience has an air of innocence to it, there’s no story to the avatar and that blank canvas adds to the appeal and the sense of wonder. Being lost in the inner world, facing challenges within oneself and having so little guidance to what is a proper resolution.

Enlightened Games has a large challenge on their plate, while Bliss is closing in on their goal, their pledge to find a way to publish is a strong reassurance. The world is beautiful, the mechanics are rough but it’s clear this isn’t the end-product or anything near it. With the option to pan the camera I would have an array of beautiful scenic desktop wallpapers to rotate through. Until then I’ll makeshift my collection together.