Genius Loci starts with you ascending a flight of stairs into a large empty room. Your only company in that room is a mysterious statue and upon looking at it, the world starts to transform around the two of you. Or is it more accurate to say that the world is reverting to a previous point in time?
Truth be told, I’m not actually that perceptive, as the game’s description clearly states that it’s about “passing time and architectural memories”. What results from that is a captivating and often confusing journey about change. Looking at particular objects in the environment will open a window of sorts into the past that you can then walk through, seeing how this place has transformed through its history. It’s all a bit tech-demoey, but the tech that it’s demoing is pretty neat and makes for an incredible aesthetic. As with most games of its type, I found myself wanting to do more in the world while equally understanding that it would probably overstay its welcome if I did.
That’s the kicker with games like Genius Loci. They have something to say, waste very little time in doing so, and then leave you to think about it on your own. It’s an obvious advantage of the free indie platform, but surely there’s something we can learn from that, if not mechanically, than at least as storytellers.