The First Tree Review
Posted: 13 months ago, last updated 2 weeks ago.
During the game, we hear the man and his partner discussing the dream and how it relates to his life, in particular his distant relationship with his father, who has now passed away. He deals with his regrets of not having spoken to his father more. Meanwhile, his partner supports him and reassures him that together they are still family and still have each other. Though this game deals with the feelings of an adult losing their parent, with complex dialogue to match, this game has a relatable emotional content for young people playing with adult supervision.
It's a poignant and beautiful journey, told from the perspective of a young adult looking back at their growing up. As it crescendos on arrival at a large tree you realise the landscape and the parent-child memories have become intertwined.
"The path was luminous before her and it led to something ancient, so she ran," says the narrator. While the fox isn't as lifelike as other games, it's the landscape that is the real encounter here. Big and open enough to get lost in, to run and run and run in, but not so big as to frustrate for very long. Through a wide range of terrain and seasons, the game is a chance to find calm and space for your own reflection.
Because there is no way to die or fail, and there are no enemies, this is a game that is good to try as one of your first. Or to play with a young player. With this in mind, you still need to apply some logic at times and deal with the slightly finicky interface. Triggering the three tree stumps in the middle level foiled some, but you just need to stand on them and press A in time with the falling light-bug.
It features an orchestral soundtrack by acclaimed artists like Message to Bears, Lowercase Noises, and Josh Kramer.
Players: This is a single player game. Although it’s a solitary game, at a certain point you get to leave a poignant message that will appear in other people’s game. The massages are vetted by the developer and add weight to the closing scenes of he game.
This game has been rated ESRB EVERYONE.
Rated PEGI 3+. There are some references to alcohol present.
In addition to the ratings parents and carers should also note that themes of family estrangement and parent-conflict run through the coming-of-age story. There are also dead fox cubs that you discover along the way.
Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.
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