Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Feb 11, 2013
    Proteus is beautiful. It's a different sort of interactive experience that needs to be seen.
  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. Mar 12, 2013
    Proteus requires a desire to explore, something that every gamer ostensibly possesses but is rarely asked to use. Much like thatgamecompany’s Journey, Ed Key pushes a spiritual experience that feels fresh immediately upon entry. Yes, it lasts about an hour. Yes, it is enchantingly poetic. And yes, it is deserving of as much play as open-minded gamers are willing to give it.
  4. Feb 8, 2013
    A childlike sense of amusement came over me while I explored the island in Proteus. Every time I saw something new in the distance, I got excited and had to see it up close. Proteus is a game that needs to be seen, experienced, and most of all, needs to be heard. Trust me, you'll want to wear headphones for this one.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Feb 5, 2013
    How substantial it will be to you depends on how susceptible you are to its picturesque, vaguely pagan charm.
  8. Feb 20, 2013
    Proteus' metaphor for life is a more lonely one than Journey's and I did miss the more personal note of thatgamecompany's title. Also, the static movement hinders immersion a bit, you don't really feel like you're moving an entity through this sprawling three-and-a-half-bit world. Still, this is worthwhile for one or two goes. Games like Proteus are important – if only to show us how ridiculously reliant we are on genre denominations and categories. Or, to quote the great Frank Zappa, 'without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible'.
  9. Feb 22, 2013
    Pure minimalism: Proteus is the gaming equivalent to a Brian Eno album.
  10. Feb 12, 2013
    Proteus is an experience for people who are stressed, anxious, nervous, the depressed... It's a little expensive, but the remedy works.
  11. Feb 12, 2013
    The mystery of Proteus continues and the game world created there is worth a visit, despite the inability to touch it or alter it. But at the same time, the game made me want to take an actual hike in the real world; and it’s a tough sell at $10 for anyone but those who enjoy thinking about video games as art, and wandering around an intriguing place without doing anything.
  12. Feb 12, 2013
    We are alone in a pixelated paradise, exploring a small island, in the middle of an endless sea. If you feel adventurous and don't mind the retro feeling, give it a try.
  13. 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.
  14. Feb 14, 2013
    Proteus is a down-to-earth game about nature, in all it’s glory. Your first encounter with the island, it’s animalistic inhabitants and the living, breathing, musical atmosphere is sure to send chills down your spine, and the fact that the third visit manages to be just as exciting is a testament to Proteus’ greatness.
  15. Games Master UK
    Apr 13, 2013
    Proteus's ever-changing island is a joy to walk through, listen to and explore. [May 2013, p.84]
  16. Apr 9, 2013
    An independent experiment that has managed to free from the established genres, and out of its graphical and sound simplicity it has formed the experiences you cannot escape from.
  17. Feb 13, 2013
    You might just find something you like, something completely different, or something that emotionally affects you in ways you never thought possible from a video game. And that alone makes Proteus a winner.
  18. 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.
  19. Feb 15, 2013
    If it were cheaper, if there were more to it, it would justify its $9.99 asking price. As it stands now, however, most people would probably be better off holding onto their money and looking elsewhere to satisfy their exploration fix.
  20. 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.
  21. Feb 8, 2013
    Proteus is a very different sort of interactive experience. Maybe, by your definition, it's not even a game. But that doesn't matter. It's a joyous experiment in exploration from start to finish – even if it is a very, very short-lived one.
  22. Mar 5, 2013
    An inspired dynamic score makes for some sublime hiking, but it’s somewhat slim and repetitive for the asking price.
  23. Feb 13, 2013
    This is a compelling experience, the inspired outgrowth of a new complexity in the environmental design of videogames.
  24. Feb 4, 2013
    To ignore it for avoiding standard conventions would be a mistake. Put any preconceptions aside and let Ed Key and David Kanaga’s work take you in.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 185 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 185
  2. Negative: 73 out of 185
  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,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.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 30, 2013
    First off; Proteus is a fine game. It has no enemies, no save points, no skills, no weapons, no levels, and no way to die. What it DOES haveFirst off; Proteus is a fine game. It has no enemies, no save points, no skills, no weapons, no levels, and no way to die. What it DOES have is a fantastic environment that, even though pixelated, is quite beautiful, A dynamic soundtrack which changes depending on what you are interacting with at the time, and a sense of wonderment, mystery, and exploration. If you are looking for a violent shoot 'em up or a viscous hack n' slash, this game is not for you. If you are looking for a dynamic, ever-changing environment where you can go to explore, chase frogs, and relax, this is a must have. To me Proteus isn't so much a game as it is my happy place. Full Review »
  3. Feb 4, 2013
    I've got to go low on this one. This is not a game. This is an interactive screensaver. Let me repeat: This is not a game. Worst $10 spent.I've got to go low on this one. This is not a game. This is an interactive screensaver. Let me repeat: This is not a game. Worst $10 spent. I'd rather get mugged. At least then it's an actual experience. Full Review »