A nice photography game with beautiful scenery and enjoyable minigames.
Genre: Photography, Exploration
Developer: The Alekon Company
Publisher: The Alekon Company
Release date: 13 Jun, 2021
Alekon is a first-person photography game where you have to explore islands and take photos of the creatures living in them. Fictions, as what the game called them, are going to show up in the hub world afterward , giving you some tasks to finish.
The game is presented in simple, 3D graphics. Despite its simplicity, the addition of special effects in the environment gives the atmospheric look. Fictions are also expressive – they will change poses from time to time, with or without your intervention. You’ll find yourself getting the urge to take photos most of the time, adjusting your surroundings to match the beautiful-looking environments with the cute-looking fictions.
To be honest, I didn’t find the main story to be that interesting. There is some thought given to the narrative – it has a unique concept that tries to incorporate the world of fiction as realistic as possible. However, it still feels weak to me, causing me to lose interest quickly.
The fictions, on the other hand, are what make the dialogues interesting. You’ll be able to talk to the fictions after you took their photos in the wild, giving you a chance to know their personality. Each fiction revolves around a certain characteristic, making them hard to forget – I even still remember some of their names because of it. I’m always interested in hearing what they have in store whenever I talked to them for the first time.
As a photography game, you can take photos of the fictions in the wild. You’ll start exploring one of three main areas of an island in a set path where you can learn of the surroundings and fictions living in it. Photo-taking is available at this point of the game, although you might want to save it until you can freely explore the island later on. Despite the first area being unlocked at the beginning, the other two areas will remain locked until you do a certain action. However, the action might be too vague at first, especially since some of them are blending with other optional puzzles that are made to be solved in the wandering mode.
The true charm of the game lies in the wandering mode, where you can explore the whole island on foot instead of following a set path. You can explore some areas that are not accessible in the other mode, giving you a chance to find hidden fictions on that island. It also allows you to take a better photo of them, all while trying to capture all of their poses at the same time. Some fictions will only show a certain pose in a certain part of the island, some will require you to wait patiently in one spot until they show up. It feels as if I’m trying to photograph an animal in real life, despite never trying it out myself.
Although you can play the game casually, you can also challenge yourself to get the perfect score for your photos. The game will score your photos based on certain aspects, mainly in size, visibility, angle, and center. Moreover, each fiction‘s pose will be treated separately to make it more challenging. Some poses are harder to find, some might require you to do the same actions several times just to get the right timing. It can be frustrating sometimes, especially since you need to find the perfect spot and/or wait patiently to get it. Luckily, this only serves as an extra challenge and is not required for game nor achievement completion.
It might be boring to keep on taking photos, and Alekon knows it well. Taking a photo of fiction for the first time will “transport” it to the hub, where you can play some minigames or do some quests. Although some are similar, most minigames are unique, requiring you to do a certain action to finish. However, some can be tricky sometimes, especially with the weird controls – I even had to rebind the control of the music minigame since it’s hard to play a four-button rhythm game with one hand. The same minigame also can be hard for people who are not good at this type of game, although there is a way to make it easier.
Length and Difficulty
I finished the game in 15.9h with perfect shots for all poses. As I said before, it’s not necessary to do this to get 100% achievement, although you still need to capture all fiction poses for it. The game isn’t very long – you can easily finish it in less than 10h if you only want to beat the game. The optional tasks such as capturing all fiction poses and finishing all quests can give more challenges to the game, although there is a way to make it easier if you are having trouble with it.
It can be confusing to travel between some areas, especially on the last island. The loading time whenever you go to and from an island is also very slow sometimes. Lastly, some actions such as using a hole and talking to a certain fiction to teleport are also not obvious enough.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Alekon knows well how to balance between photo-taking and playing minigames. The minigames do a good job to give a breather from the repetitive photo-taking while the first one will leave you impressed with the beautiful scenery. It’s fun to explore the whole island to find hidden fictions, especially the one that holds a certain pose. Although I got stumped in solving some puzzles, it proves to be easy once you know what to do. It doesn’t take a long time for me to like the game, and before I know it, I kept on making excuses just to play it longer.