Alekon takes players to striking worlds to take pictures of its natural creatures, creating a sense of wonder as you explore it.
It has become increasingly popular for teams to branch out and make a rail photography game. With big studios doing it, it makes sense for others to follow suit. But in a genre that’s becoming so popular, it’s easy for newer and smaller games to get lost and forgotten. That doesn’t feel like the case with Alekon, however. At least, I don’t believe it should be the case. From a studio of only three people, the game combines photography with cute monsters and a variety of mini-games I found to be incredibly surprising (and very compelling).
Like I said, it’s hard to make a game that stands out when a genre becomes hot again. This game really has something going for it though. It just feels unique, and that is almost entirely due to the world-building. Starting off in a more aquatic-based level, all the basics are there. You move along the invisible rail to take photos of “fictions” in order to restore color to the world. It’s all very whimsical and dreamy. I mean, every time you take a new or better photo, you’re rewarded with glittery text reminiscent of fireworks to let you know.
Alekon’s photography mechanic is simple and similar, with a donut treat thrown in. Its addition of mini games and a free-to-roam area in between photography worlds were smart additions. It gives you a chance to take a break, actually interact with the creatures you take pictures of, and feel less like an intruder in their lives. From hide and seek to one of the most frustrating/rewarding games of “can you get the ring on the pole,” the variety is simply there. It’s engaging and I never once felt the pressure to keep going.
It is an easy game to play in the sense that it doesn’t make progression feel like a mandatory chore. Grinding to get the perfect pictures of all the animals doesn’t feel like the goal. All I ever wanted was to relax for a bit, take a photo or thirty, play a game or two, and then hop back in later.
As I’m collecting my thoughts on Alekon, I’ve realized what makes it feel like such a treat to play. It’s filled with the kind of childlike joy that comes from going to an aquarium for the first time or when you first see an elephant at the zoo and realize “Wow these are magnificent monsters.” Plus the music is great, which boosts a game at least 10 points in my book.
Alekon is available now on Steam.