There's been some debate about whether or not 'Proteus' can be considered a game. As we know, games do have to have a certain amount of game-play for it to be called a game. Yet Proteus consists of walking and just using your mouse to look around; 'to look for what?' you might be asking, the simple answer is nothing. At the start of a new game, Proteus procedurally-generates and island for you to aimlessly explore the first time you engage in its 'game-play'. As I say 'aimlessly explore', after a period of time the pieces will fall into place. All that's needed is for the player to be very patient and relaxed.
You are spawned in water; and in the distance you can see an almost paradise-like island, you swim toward it and eventually reach land. From here you can see the green hills and the bouncy creatures that inhabit the island. You look around, scratching your head to find a hint of what you should do; or where you should go. One of the creatures finds is way to you and continues bouncing along off into the distance. Before it's gone, you decide to follow it hoping for it to lead you to some clue, and it does! You have arrived at a wooden shack. It appears that it has been abandoned for quite some time. There seems to be no way to enter, and you hang your head low with sadness and despair. As your head is down, you notice that all hope is not lost when you notice the house has a path leading away from it. This time, however you don't get your hopes up so high, and after following along the path for what seemed like an eternity, a strong gust of wind occurs and the trees around you begin shivering with the brute force. You have no where to go and day suddenly becomes night. White orbs light up in front of your eyes, pointing you in the direction of big stones including the white orbs flying around outside of it. Inside there is a small ring of these orbs, so you quickly rush to get to inner ring and make it. For a moment nothing happens, then suddenly everything becomes white and fades away. Once again, you wake up. This time on land in the same island. You think to yourself that all of that was to no avail, but in a quick moment you realize that it had changed seasons! You have found out how you can change season if it is your wish to do so.
All of the above might not be the game for a lot of people. But it was an enjoyable experience for my first time. Playing a game like Proteus without any knowledge of what's going on can be frustrating to say the least. But everyone's journey will be slightly different; yet will always end the same. I am of course not going to continue with and more spoilers and will let you figure out what to do in your unique way.
Proteus has a gorgeous soundtrack that really ties in with the sunny green hills of the island; or the damp, windy and dull nights. The creatures at day will play with that nice happy tone while they bounce along around you. And the same goes for night, fitting in beautifully with the tone. It also changes according to the season. It may have been the only game I've ever played where the music and atmosphere brought back happy summer memories for me. And overall made me feel really happy while playing it.
My first play time is just over fifty-five minutes, which mostly consisted of me trying to figure out what to do and they were frustrating to say the least, but I felt rewarded after completing it. Because I now know the ending, I don't feel me ever coming back to it again until I, at least forget about it and want another happy island-exploring time. However it will always be my second time. As the islands are procedurally-generated each player will have a different perspective from his or her journey. One thing that intrigues me was that when you pressed escape, your character would slowly close his eyes. If you hold it down, he will do so until you are back to the main menu. It was a nice calm way to exit back to the menu.
There isn't much to say about Proteus that after being said wouldn't ruin the first time unique experience of the player. And if I'm completely honest, I am really glad I bought this in the Humble Bundle so that I can actually play some games. I would see this as more of an experience than a game. I will of course recommend the Humble Bundle, but I would not recommend this 'game' on its own. So, go now and buy the Humble Bundle so you can have a calm 'experience' and games!