DescriptionWhen 73-year-old Joseph Wheeler stares up into the snowfall on a quiet winter's night, he tries to recall the memories of his life, floating in the dark. The young lady with him asks him to share his memories, because she wants to see the story they form.
Spectre represents the travel through Joseph's mind, where the player gets to pick out nine moments to decide how his life will be remembered. The overarching narrative is disguised as a platformer where each playthrough only offers a glimpse and where the loose threads can be connected in different ways to reveal meaning.
At the start players get to choose a starting point, from the age of 6 to 8, 12, 17, 44, 73 or a random age. Each period is designed as a different platforming sequence and Joseph can move between the periods in any direction. Each location contains a number of floating bubbles that represent fragments of Joseph's life. Moving towards them reveals the title of the fragment. By walking into them Joseph narrates that part of his life while a short mini-game is played. These consists of more platforming sequences, a photo-alignment puzzle, or quick games involving switches. Failing these abruptly ends the memory. During a single playthrough only nine memories can be chosen from the many available.
To help form a coherent structure, the colour of the bubbles changes after picking the first one. Brightly coloured ones are tied directly to the previous fragment, darker ones with a bright halo only have a vague tie and the black ones are almost completely unrelated. Players get to choose which chain to form and sometimes certain memories are triggered unintentionally, as they move around following a path and Joseph can bump into them accidentally. Next to that, each age period also visually changes Joseph's appearance and his abilities. As an old man he is no longer able to jump as high and walk as fast.
Each time a chain of nine memories is formed, a conclusion is presented and the general theme is highlighted on the title screen. To grasp the complete story the game needs to be replayed multiple times and it is also influenced by the order the themes are found out. Different themes and memories represent different facets of his life and personality. Game controls consist of four keys to move Joseph around and an additional key to jump. There are fifty-two themes and more than a hundred memories to explore.
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- Spectre (official game website)
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