Most people probably wouldn’t describe Sentinel as a game, but in my opinion, anything that calls itself a video game is a video game. Right off the bat, I was intrigued by what Sentinel was created for and what it wanted to do. The description on SantimaGames’ page explains that the creator was planning on making a video clip for their musical project (Cava Grande) but instead decided to make a game. The result is a bizarrely wonderful abstract adventure that will pull you along with it.
Each playthrough of Sentinel lasts as long as the song does – which is around six minutes. I played the game three times though to see the impact different choices would have and to try to figure out the puzzle element of the game. One of the most interesting things about Sentinel is not knowing what is going on, what all the beautiful imagery means and why you’re floating through ‘the void’.
Your avatar is an unnamed ragdoll man with no backstory and you start the game by just flying through the sky. Over the course of each playthrough, you’ll move through an abandoned, partially destroyed town, meet a giant woman who tries to grab you out of your float and be surrounded by bodiless heads with their eyes all trained on you. I still don’t know what any of this means but I like to think that each player can read into this what they want.
The player is made to feel tranquillity and threat simultaneously as the ragdoll man moves through each disturbing and eerie vision. There’s a feeling of helplessness as your float through the sky knowing that you just have to accept your lot in life but also a general oppressiveness from the (occasionally quite terrifying) scenarios you find yourself in.
It’s hard to say any more about Sentinel given I still don’t really know what was happening in it. I suppose the final thing I should comment on is the music, which pairs with the game beautifully. That said, if I didn’t know the game was created to compliment the track, I would have probably thought the game came first given how interesting and appealing it is.
As the developer themselves say: “You’ll probably end up playing it many times to figure out how the game works – which is the actual puzzle itself”.
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