trending / - - - - - -

trending / playstation 4 - ni no kuni - halo - wii u - bungie interview - ces top picks - radeon hd 7850 - woods pga tour

Vane Review: Nevermore

/ Mar 5th, 2019 No Comments

Vane Review

Making an artistic statement in video games is not an easy feat. There are many ways to elevate a game to the level of art. More often than not, it comes in the form of its visuals. A unique design or atmosphere is can up a game’s artistic clout.

Vane crafts a beautifully dark world that is mysterious and moody. Its gameplay evokes both the freedom and relaxation of flight and the terrifying feeling of being a lost child in a strange and dangerous place. The game is far from perfect, but it does a good job of drawing you into its world.


A more modern approach to elevating the artistic qualities of a video game is to present the game and its gameplay without words. A wordless game alone isn’t art, but if the storytelling and imagery are strong enough, it goes a long way into the artful presentation of a game. The ethos behind not spelling out the finer points of gameplay and its system is believing in the player enough to discover the answers on their own.

However, this can be a gamble. Much of this approach is predicated on impeccable game design and a high level of legibility. If the level or game design falters, the game becomes confusing rather than illuminating. Unfortunately, Vane suffers more than it thrives by taking this approach.

Vane Review
The opening act is where the game hits its high.

Much of Vane is covered in mystique because of its wordless storytelling and its dark atmosphere. You start the game in control of a child braving a fierce storm. As the child tries to fight forward, odd figures in black cloaks loom ominously from a perch. In spite of a furious attempt to make it through the storm, the child is blown away.

After the storm, the child is gone. In its place is a black bird in a seemingly endless dessert. Other birds flap their wings in the distance, but the more important things to investigate in the desert are these beautiful, archaic weather vanes. By investigating these vanes scattered across the desert, the bird is able to activate a odd structure that releases a ball of shiny gold debris.

Vane Review
The dark atmosphere is a highlight, but it is a double edge sword.

When the bird gets close to the pile of gold, something extraordinary happens: the bird transforms into a child. The shocking reveal means that the child from the beginning of the game was turned into a bird after the storm. Further, whenever the child falls from a great distance, it can transform into a bird until coming in contact with those filaments of gold again.

As a child, you’re able to move heavier objects and find your way into a deep underground ruin. Vane consistently raises more questions than it answers, which makes moving forward such a tantalizing prospect. However, when you reach the underground, many of the game’s issues come to the surface.

Flying around as a bird in the bright, open desert has a tranquil, almost transcendent beauty to it. The puzzles you have to solve in order to restore your child body have a clarity that makes you want to continue working toward solving them. Sadly, that same beauty and clarity dissipates once you enter the underground temple. While the dark, foreboding look of the temple creates an excellent atmosphere. It also creates an issue of legibility.

Vane Review
It is Vane’s darkness that creates issues of legibility.

Vane’s art style is impressionistic at times. While creating a striking visual aesthetic, it results in confusing level design. It is especially an issue when flying around in the darkness. There are moments during these underground sections that become exceptionally dizzying and hard to navigate.

It isn’t the sometimes muddy visuals alone that create frustration. Solving puzzles as a child is, at times, maddening. However, many of the issues feed into each other.

Naturally, as a child you move much more ponderously without any of the grace and nimbleness of your bird form. Yet, as a child you’re able to manipulate objects due to obvious dexterity and strength. This gives you the ability to move giant orbs, gates and release mechanisms.

Vane Review
The puzzle solving as a child suffers the most as a result of the visuals.

Much of the child puzzles are dependent on AI that is often unreliable. While the wonky AI is annoying, it is nothing compared to how confusing the level design is. What makes the puzzles such a struggle is the fact that you’re constantly at war with the game’s lighting and the world construction.

This is what makes the game such a struggle of legibility. The solutions to the puzzles aren’t mind-numbingly difficult. More, navigating the world and figuring out what is going on is what makes solving them so challenging. It ends up deflating the joy that comes from the philosophy of letting players discover the answers on their own, which is a shame because it does so many things right.


Artistically, Vane achieves a lot. It crafts a dark, atmospheric world full of intrigue. However, its atmosphere is both its crowning achievement and its biggest weakness. Due to the darkness of the world and the lighting, it can be difficult to see where you need to go on the level in front of you. Coupled with a wonky camera, the game is hard to enjoy.

Vane was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by the developer.



Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs

tags: , , ,

Related Posts

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled: Classic Karting

Jun 20th, 2019No Comments

Puyo Puyo Champions Review

Puyo Puyo Champions Review: Cool Beans

Jun 10th, 2019No Comments

Dragon Marked for Death

Dragon Marked for Death Review: Marked Out

May 29th, 2019No Comments

Ghost Giant Review

Ghost Giant Review: Holding Hands

May 23rd, 2019No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verify That You Are Human... *

Top Articles


Gaming Illustrated RATING



There are moments of brilliance, but they are marred by issues of illegibility.


Vane has an enticing art style that is like an impressionist painting. It creates this dark and rich atmosphere, but it is this same atmosphere that causes issues for the gameplay.


The sound design and music is fantastic. It is the real highlight of Vane.


Vane has such an intriguing story that makes you want to discover exactly what’s happening.

bestjett buyeww 4764214797 link

besttrew buyhfgh 4764214797 link

bestavbe buydfgss 4764214797 link

bestjett buyeww 8133167205 link

besttrew buyhfgh 8133167205 link

bestavbe buydfgss 8133167205 link

bestjett buyeww 944000661 link

besttrew buyhfgh 944000661 link

bestavbe buydfgss 944000661 link

bestjett buyeww 4019330036 link

besttrew buyhfgh 4019330036 link

bestavbe buydfgss 4019330036 link

bestjett buyeww 5205751593 link

besttrew buyhfgh 5205751593 link

bestavbe buydfgss 5205751593 link