ODGŁOS is a stop-motion animated browser game that approaches the border towards an interactive movie – seemingly one of the main topics of the developing duo Holy Pangolin Studio (their work even includes an interactive DVD player game), another one is a deep interest in rhythms and sound design.
Both themes are prevalent here as well: At essence this game is a movie, but it awaits your interaction at some points. Often you just need to click an object on screen, at some times you have to solve short puzzles – but you can (except maybe some minor skips) not influence the events. The visuals are very detailed and profound, and the playfulness that is inherent to the media of stop motion – an effect also notable in the work of Jan Svankmajer or the Quay Brothers – is also notable here (but the unsettling and morbid undertones many stop motions inherit are absent).
The sound effects are based on excerpts from the works of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio; an early studio for experimental music that is also present within the story – they are carefully selected and arranged, and help to increase the surreal and otherworldly tone that is set by the visuals.
The games story follows a group of animals that interacts with each other, but also with their surrounding world that has a life of its own: trees eat leafs, kissing statues drive the time ahead, and benches covered with snow create melodies. A vast, yet inscrutable creativity is omnipresent.
The „cuteness“ and the mentioned playfulness in design and story might mislead to regard the whole thing as a form of kitsch – but the games seemingly simple story can be interpreted as a ambiguous metaphor for the fundamental struggles of human existence that is filled with both the excitements and the banalities of everyday life, and that is inevitably ephemeral – neither effort nor technical innovation are bound to bring back what one has lost.
While the gameplay is easy, the game is not – you might play through it in some minutes, but it will surely take you quite some time and multiple plays to at least partly comprehend it – the singular world it opens to you is however well worth this effort, and the audiovisual design is nothing short of splendid.
ODGŁOS is the most elaborate production of the studio, but the other projects done by the studio and both of its members are worth to be checked out as well: There are more images, games, and animated movies available, and the programmer is involved at various open source projects – among them Super Tux Kart.
The game is open source and realized as HTML5 browser game; hence it is fully compatible with Linux.