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Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 158 Ratings

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  • Summary: Proteus is a minimalist game of pure exploration and sublime discovery in a musical wilderness environment. There are no challenges and no goals other than those set by the player. A reactive audio mixing system allows the player to explore the environment as music.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Feb 4, 2013
    Proteus is beautiful, a beautiful thing. And it makes me happy – happy because it is so intrinsically interesting and emotional; happy because we live in an age in which things like this can be made and distributed to everyone with a computer.
  2. Feb 20, 2013
    If you look at Dear Esther as a dark audio book Proteus is like looking at an interactive painting. Taking in every detail in this 8-bit world you realize the emotional power with which visuals and audio can create a poetic artwork.
  3. Jan 30, 2013
    With a defined beginning, four distinct seasonal environments and an affecting, surprising conclusion, there's no question that Proteus is a game. But if there's one concern, it's whether this is an island that's worth revisiting once you've seen all it has to offer. In a way, its lack of progression – the absence of skill trees, difficulty levels and save points – works in its favour; you won't dive back in to mop up the last few achievements, or to climb leaderboards, but simply because you want to play Proteus.
  4. Feb 11, 2013
    Proteus is beautiful. It's a different sort of interactive experience that needs to be seen.
  5. Nov 22, 2013
    Proteus is without a doubt not for everyone, because playing in the traditional sense of the word doesn't really happen. It does, however, deliver an enchanting experience through the harmony of images and sounds, which leaves enough room for your own imagination.
  6. Feb 12, 2013
    While Proteus doesn't evoke a sense of lasting emotional impact, it provides a brief escape to zone out and let your senses soak in its world, whether you're following your nose in discovery or simply relaxing and watching the sunset.
  7. Feb 7, 2013
    Proteus is very much a niche title. Without any real objective or storytelling hook, the open-ended nature will no doubt bore some. That said, its attempts at emergent gameplay are commendable and worth experiencing if this type of game appeals to you.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 53
  2. Negative: 24 out of 53
  1. Feb 4, 2013
    It looks like the people posting the terrible reviews didn't manage to figure out how to progress in the game. That is not the game's fault, but the user's fault, and in my eyes is the equivalent of someone calling a book terrible, because they can't figure out how to open the cover and get to the pages.

    If you require your hand constantly held through your games, and big flashing arrows pointing which way to go and what to do next, this game isn't for you. If you like an atmospheric, charming, exploration game that will provide you with an amazing experience, give it a try! I found it a very satisfying and relaxing experience, and on my second play through noticed things I hadn't previously, and was greeted with a new landscape to explore.

    I highly recommend this "relax-em up" (not sure what else to call it!) to anyone who wants a new experience and wants to get lost in an interesting world.
  2. Apr 22, 2013
    This game is actually pretty intriguing. The goal is to immerse yourself really, put your feet up, relax take it in, and the world will introduce curious things to you that will suprise you. I haven't had the same experience twice, and when it comes to a long stessful day, this is the perfect way to unwind. I absolutely love this game, and its truly special and unique Expand
  3. Jan 31, 2013
    This is a really original exploration game. Just wander around and look at the (oddly beautiful) pixelated sights and listen to the absolutely fantastic music...the music is the main component of the game as everything you look at it and "interact" with will change the score and add sounds dynamically. It's very peaceful and really satisfying. Just when you think "ok I've had enough" and are about to quit, you see something that keeps you in for a while longer. Anyone who is into ambient music NEEDS to give Proteus a proper go. Expand
  4. May 29, 2013
    I really want to like this game. It has interesting visuals, it's unlike anything I've ever played before, and it's relaxing and ambient. There are subtle goals and puzzles (so to speak), but the game isn't about progress so much as, for lack of a better word, "flow." You meander about your randomly-generated island for quite a while your first time through, until you realize how to (again, I use this word loosely) progress. While you amble, you are subjected to an ever-changing, gorgeous audiovisual landscape that is quite pretty (if a little sparse). You learn how to interact with the world around you, beginning with chasing animals around and culminating with the "solution" to the island's main "puzzle." Once you figure that out, you can explore the island through the seasons; the relaxation of spring, the hot, sometimes blindingly bright summer, the strange (and sometimes outright eerie) fall, and, finally, the sad, delicate sparseness of winter. Each season does have an effect on you, and Proteus is sometimes outright moving. It may not say much directly, but there are some definite themes going on here, and they're quite timely, too. Proteus is certainly an "anti-game," but that's the point; we, as gamers, have become too open to distraction and destruction. In these respects, Proteus succeeds. What it fails at is pure and simple longevity. It takes no more than an hour (two if you really enjoy it) to explore your first island and from there very little changes. Each island looks different, yes, but the themes and elements are all exactly the same. You might go on one or two more playthroughs just to figure out how a few of the more esoteric elements can be interacted with, but that's about the extent of it. It's also far too easy to get incredibly lost, but perhaps that's another theme of Proteus. The ambience would definitely be defeated by a HUD. This game is well worth a look, especially if you're into non-traditional gaming. If not, you ought to avoid this game. My final word on the matter is that this game is a part of the Humble Indie Bundle 8 right now, so long as you beat the median price. I highly suggest looking into this independent developer friendly, charity-boosting organization; you can get this game packed in with other interesting and (typically) more-traditional games on the cheap (or not-so-cheap, if you're feeling generous). That's the way to go for this game; that way, if you hate this game or find it boring, at least your money was still well-spent. Expand
  5. Sep 14, 2013
    I love casual, immersive games, and I love minimal design. The game looks great and is a joy to interact with... for about 30 minutes.

    spent about 2 hours playing this because I had read there was "more than meets the eye," and there certainly is. There are interesting elements that are not immediately obvious. But even then, there is VERY little content and almost no replayability. I don't mind that there is no real objective or conflict, but the overall experience was underwhelming.

    I would maybe have given this a higher score if it went for $5, but even at that price I couldn't recommend it. I'd love to see what the developers do next, but in my mind this is no more than a tech demo.
  6. Apr 26, 2013
    I was meaning to do a more pithy review, but lost my edge when I saw someone else already called Proteus an "interactive screensaver." I agree, and I do like a lot of "art games." Proteus, though, is extraordinarily slow-paced. It generally left me confused, which would be fine if it were going somewhere, but there didn't appear to be any ultimate "point" or there was, but well beyond the very short 20m I gave it. For example, a ring of fireflies formed at one point and made a large pillar appear, which must have released some type of invisible sleeping gas. It was probably the coolest moment of my experience, leaving me thinking "Mm. Okay."

    I did try to like the game, but I guess I'm not nearly patient enough, nor interested in a game which doesn't adequately present itself as more than a distraction. Ultimately, I found myself wishing there was no interactivity at all, and that the character would progress by himself while I ate a bowl of ramen noodles. And then I wondered why I don't just eat outside before realizing I had frustration to unload here (and it's 2am!).

    It did have soothing graphics (I think "beautiful" is an exaggeration it took me a while to figure out when I arrived at the side of a graveyard [and now I'm doubting my perception], partially because some of the tombstones were swaying). The music was soothing, too kind of reminded me of some of the early music in Rotohex. Proteus is very different, and bold in that originality, but I can't say it was refreshing. (But it is definitely thought-provoking reviews here are particularly polarized)
  7. Jul 16, 2014
    You can have more fun navigating around in google street view. Go check out the steam reviews for this. 90% of the positive reviews have less than an hour played. If you can't even stand to play the game for more than an hour, why would you give it a good review? I sure wouldn't. Expand

See all 53 User Reviews