Earn a second chance at life as your soul bounces from animal to human and back again.
The only serious aspect to Soul Journey is its name. Rather than being a dark, gloomy adventure, as the name might suggest, the game is full of bright environments, a wide array of short-lived characters, and a clever start to the story. However, for all of its differences in the genre, there are a number of technical issues here that keep the game from being a must-have.
In Soul Journey, your character “dies” in the first 30 seconds after being electrocuted in the bathroom – or rather, you were supposed to die, but Heaven was a bit busy that day, leaving Angel #83 to come down from the heavens to help you have a second chance at life. While your body lies in a coma, your soul has been transferred into the body of a dog. You’re told that the only way to get back to your own body, and have a chance at redemption, is to travel through body after body (animal or human) completing basic tasks for these creatures.
Unfortunately, that’s about as in-depth as the storyline becomes, which is but one of many problems facing Soul Journey. Each body that you inhabit creates another “mission” in the game, with some overarching goal that must be achieved by completing a variety of steps. For example, in our first body – the dog – you must find something for the dog to eat so it doesn’t starve. Once you travel into another human body, as another example, you might have to set the stage at a theater for a ballet performance, or help an elderly lady go grocery shopping. There’s a lack of all rhyme and reason as to most of the hosts you’ll end up taking over, as you’ll suddenly travel from the body of a cat, at night, to the body of a young girl, in the daytime at random.
Each task that you’ll need to complete is achieved through traditional hidden object scenes (find items on a list) or through some light puzzles (jigsaw puzzles, tile rotation puzzles, mazes and so on). The hidden object scenes are entirely static and vary in their complexity, making some scenes incredibly difficult to complete, while others are a proverbial cakewalk. What’s more, there are many times when you’re not told what you should be doing next, leaving you to travel back and forth between the two or three environments that that character has access to until a hidden object list appears at the bottom of the screen. This is cumbersome to say the least.
There is also the issue of weird, or even deceiving object naming to contend with in Soul Journey. On the topic of incorrect naming, you may be told that you need to find 12 Bricks in a scene. Only after spending time looking for red or brown pieces of masonry will you realize that the game meant that you should be finding 12 Alphabet Blocks instead of Bricks. As for the slight deception, this comes mainly when finding the many food items in the game, as you may be told to find 6 Onions, or 5 Apples, and every color, shape, size, and variety of apple or onion is available on the screen, and you’ll not know which one to click on.
There are straightforward technical issues too. In one location (the ballet theater), there is no way to look down into the orchestra pit to find items and complete tasks without using a hint. And the only way to look back up at the stage to use those items is to go out onto the map and then spawn into the theater again.
Soul Journey has a clever concept, that much is true. Traveling through different hosts as you do good deeds and earn your spot back amongst the living – it’s a setup that had a lot of potential, but the storyline is so shaky and each mission so hastily thrown together that it really drags the game down into something more like a chore, rather than an experience that’s fun to see through to the end. With more depth and focus on the story, rather than unnecessary attempts at humor, the technical issues (which include freezing issues) might be forgivable, but as it stands, they’re simply not.