Au fil de l’eau

“Au fil de l’eau” by Samson Auroux & Lawrence Steele.

“[A] short meditation game about kayaking and immersion in a beautiful landscape. Leave your apartment and go on an adventure.”

Even though it still had some rough edges when I tried it out, “Au fil de l’eau” was a comforting escapism experience for me. The characters look quirky in a very good way, the color palettes are wonderfully picked in general and the background music is a perfect match for each part of the game. Of course, I also loved the connection between the visuals and the storytelling: Especially thanks to the playable vignettes between each new location, it all appears to be very fluid and fragmentary at the same time.

But what is the game about? Well, we have to control a little character who wants to go on vacation in the wild nature on its own. Equipped with a kayak and a backpack, we are allowed to explore the broad landscape: Driving through the mountain scenery to come to our goal, getting into the flow with the river, sleeping under the stars and navigating through a lucid dream… This kind of activities are the centerpiece of “Au fil de l’eau”. It just feels good to dive into this harmless world for half an hour, as it’s an atmospheric exploration trip adventure.

Even though “Au fil de l’eau” had some smaller technical issues when I tried it out, it didn’t lower my adoration for the game in any way. Yeah, the clipping of some scenery was somewhat weird sometimes, the camera controls could be polished and the halting of the water annoyed me a bit, but these three problems appear small in front of the charming aesthetic experience that the game provided to me. Also, the developer Samson Auroux already delivered a new version, so I’m sure that it already works way smoother than before. But really, you should try this beautiful oasis of calm by yourself. It’s worth it.