Similar to games like Journey and Rime, Vane is defined by minimalism. It tells you as little as possible up front, leaving you to work out its story and mechanics on your own. Vast spaces are open for you to wander and discover the path forward as you search the traces of a seemingly empty world. After a brief prologue, Vane begins with a bird sitting on a branch. Once you take flight, you can freely glide around, looking through ruins until something catches your eye.Before long, you’ll encounter a gold substance that not only has the power to transform the bird into a child, but has mysterious effects on the surrounding environment as well. By changing between bird and child forms while making use of this substance, you’ll navigate a series of environmental puzzles that reveal more and more about this world. There’s no dialogue or narration, just the locations, gameplay, and scenarios that unfold before you. It’s up to interpretation, but to some degree, Vane seems to be about exploring different group dynamics, as much of the gameplay involves gathering help from others to work towards common goals. The mood throughout is ominous with gloomy color palettes and audio that alternates between empty ambient sound effects and dark, overwhelming synthesizers. The game only lasts about four hours, but there is reason to linger. It’s worthwhile to replay the final chapter, and after taking the full journey, you’ll see the first major area in a whole new light, giving you much more reason to look around and see what you missed.Unfortunately, some of the extra time you spend with Vane may come begrudgingly. In nearly every chapter, we encountered bugs that halted our ability to properly control the character, forcing us to exit and reload the game. Since saving is entirely automatic, each instance of this can also mean replaying 20 minutes or more of puzzles that were just completed, pulling you out of the moment. Meanwhile, one chapter is focused on pushing a heavy ball around a large broken city, and the process of figuring out where to take it is so slow that this section can take up half the game’s playtime. In our case, this may have been exacerbated by bugs as well since other children are meant to help push the ball, but at times they just followed behind or stood in place rather than helping. These more obvious bugs aren’t the only problems Vane wrestles with either. The camera can get uncomfortably close while flying, and it often clips through floors and walls. While it’s cool to see environments shift and transform before your eyes, this can create awkward collision issues with where your character is standing.Controls feel sluggish and inconsistent, as does the framerate which takes a noticeable dip in more complex areas. While Vane may not reach the heights of its contemporaries, the bleak world it paints presents some interesting concepts. However, these ideas fails to coalesce into truly memorable moments, and it continually gets tripped up by technical issues. Easy Allies Reviews are made possible by generous viewers just like you. If you like what you see, check out patreon.com/easyallies to help us make more. For just $1 a month, you can gain access to weekly updates, spoiler discussions, and exclusive shows. .