Kometen is a laudable experience of the exploration of ones own.
illmatic87 wrote this review on .
Thankfully this isn't the case for Kometen, I'll borrow a promo blurb also saying that Kometen is best described as your post-modern Pacman, it is not your traditional game where challenges are imposed on you; rather it is a game where you impose challenges upon yourself. You control a tongue wagging Comet for which you give your protagonist its own name and it shares its thoughts with you, "Okay Clamps" I think to myself "reject me from being my in-game Avatar, I never liked the film anyway"; the fact that I thought about talking to the comet is some precursor that this comet is your pet - your responsibility.
Your objective is sparked by your own curiosity, there are landmarks placed around the galaxy for you to explore and an open means to reaching them. There is a feeling of emptiness when traversing the galaxy, feeling austere; you'd think this will make exploration in Kometen to lead you into nothing but Oblivion (pun intended) but what is most peculiar for an explorative game is how involving and fascinating the movement can be, part of it is the sentiment of pure-horizon a lack of proper direction - you could literally flip the device in 90' rotations every second or so and it will look 'correct'. The controls will really absorb most of your attention, keeping you diligent as opposed to other explorative walking simulators like 'The Path'.
Controls are rather simple - tap on a nearby star and the comet will naturally use the orbits and gravitational pull of the surrounding stars to keep your comet floating around; you don't directly control the comet, just its direction; besides – its your pet. I mentioned earlier how you set yourself challenges, in one way or another you'll need to feed your Comet so you can slingshot your comet at high speeds towards a designated landmark; collecting food efficiently isn't really easy and I found myself timing my movement and utilising the stars' orbit to travel in nice neat circles to hopefully line up the comets orbit with that of the 'food belt'.
Once your Comet is satisfied, in comes the fun part - to swipe across the screen and shoot towards your destination at high speeds; it's a gorgeous sight that lifts up the beautiful yet dormant sprites into animated watercolours, seeing coloured streaks slip across the screen and witnessing the stars zooming right past you is well worth the effort in collecting the food and to top it off you are informed of how fast your launch is; so whether or not setting yourself personal goals is up to you.
One thing Kometen could not have done better is how apt one individual composition complements the game; it's a beautiful piece that gives Kometen a proper sense of explorative pace and at the same time some wonderful vibes that will keep even the Pitchfork review board happy. From the 2-step rim-shot infused drum riff, to the subtle electrik piano chords and thank the lord, a tight violin/viola section that attacks the composition rather than the habitual recipe of flagging the strings in. I don't exactly know how long the track goes for as it never seemed to repeat itself in a noticeable loop; all I know is that, I never got tired of it, nor did I get tired of zooming through space, collecting food and uncovering new landmarks for the 5 or so hours I had with it.
By the end of the game I had my comet really flying through the galaxy, swiftly hopping from star-to-star, short jumping while developing some sort of rhythm for itself - launching my Comet when I felt the momentum was right. Yet I still ponder to myself "what is all this for?", disappointingly enough there was some 'real' answer where the game tells you to throw on some diapers, clutch daddy's hand, go to some website and put in some 'code' – whether or not I am or the right track I thought it wasn't really necessary, rather it is downright asinine for a game of this nature to do such a thing - to hop out and let someone do the thinking for you.
Kometen will perplex you with some strange, abstract and cryptic messages once you reach your designated landmarks. The tarot-esque imagery and augmenting nouns that surround the landmark artefacts will feel all to familiar leaving you bewildered – frustrated, while your pet comet zooms throughout the desolate universe as a free spirit and without a care in the world, boy am I jealous of it. I get the feeling that Kometen is insulting the fact that I keep dissecting something that will just laugh and wag its tongue around me in return. I wish I lived like this comet – I also wished it didn't do that silly code thing, I wish the games sprites were less static and I wish the background sprite-layer was as varied as space should be. Kometen is not an awful lot smarter than I am, If anything I realised I am just an awful lot more introspective and derogatory. Kometen is a laudable experience of the exploration of ones own and with regards my interpretation; it was uncovering a lost, forgotten, yet convoluted universe that is... my own.