Arise: A Simple Story is an emotionally driven tale that uses many of the same mechanics in new inventive ways. The narrative is personalized but highlights many relatable themes such as time, life, and love. Bringing all together is phenomenal music and world design. The developers purposely kept things simple so don’t expect a challenge but Arise: A Simple Story is about the journey, showing those who reach the end the importance time.

Arise: A Simple Story stars an old man who has reached the end of his life. Before passing on the man relives key moments in his life. Each section takes us to a different part but is mostly centered on his relationship with his late wife. With the player going through major parts of the man’s life in 10 chapters.

The adventure itself isn’t challenging and that’s the point. The journey is about the narrative that delivers a solid personal tale. The message is straightforward and the overall delivery is solid, ending with a strong finale.

Each area is themed after a specific emotion and has you solving time manipulation puzzles. These are simple, using this ability the man can shift time forward and back. Smaller additions are added in as well such as a grappling hook and climbing. Other environmental hazards are added to the mix such as darker forms of the man highlighting his guilt and fire. The puzzles themselves are not too challenging but very inventive. It starts small such as flooding and retracting water then manipulating gravity and managing lighting to stay in the light.

Time manipulation plays a major role but the game includes other minor elements. This includes climbing and using your grappling hook to leap across gaps or pulling trees down. The focus remains on the time manipulation systems but these ensure that it doesn’t get too stale.

You’re old and that means you cannot run that fast. This can be problematic as jumping is way faster. Most of the time I just spammed jumping because of this. Climbing complements the old man’s mobility issues and requires you to be very close to the ground or face death. Checkpoints are decently placed so even if you fail you can try again with little progress lost.

The developers did infuse some challenging puzzles in the way of optional memories. These are linked to the story and provide more context to the man’s life. Where the main cutscenes give you all the main points of information these flesh everything out.

The visuals are simply outstanding, with each area brimming with color and life. Even the darker sinister areas are breathtaking in their design. The outstanding music brings everything together with a combination of happy, joyful, tragic, and acceptance tracks peppered throughout.

Players can take on the journey with a friend but this is more problematic. The camera is okay but can be tricky when landing jumps. During cooperative play 1 player takes control of movement and the other the camera, which is annoying. The option is there but it’s best to play with 1 controller.

Arise: A Simple Story doesn’t attempt to overcomplicate its message. The adventure is full of impressive locations and the musical score is superb. The story itself provides a timeless statement about the importance of treasuring time with loved ones. It’s not a difficult journey and it’ll take around 3 hours to complete, 5 if you collect all the memories. Arise: A Simple Story is a dazzling tale that highlights the importance of life’s joys and hardships.

Arise: A Simple Story Review
  • Impressive Visuals and Presentation
  • Simple and Personal Narrative
  • Effect Time Mechanics
  • Slow Gait
  • Climbing is Fickle
  • Getting Down is Troublesome
8.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GAW with over 15 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.