Proteus is a game completely about exploration. It takes the free roaming sandbox elements from series such as The Elder Scrolls and Grand Theft Auto but removes everything else. Proteus has no objectives, story, or complex gameplay. Instead the experience is about immersing yourself in a unique and strange audiovisual world.
Proteus takes place on a single medium sized island. The landscape, inhabitants, and season are all randomly generated on each playthrough. Proteus begins with you floating in the ocean with the island just a few yards away. As you swim to shore each object and terrain you pass will play a uniquely harmonious sound. The hum of leaves falling, muddy trails and icy snow caps will all blend into a symphony the further you explore.
Proteus has a day-night cycle and all four seasons. Whether you travel quickly or stay idle time will move forward. The time of day and weather in Proteus determine what you can encounter and the musical sounds they play. At night you may witness a booming lightshow as shooting stars race through the sky, while the blazing summer morning sun blinds you and beats painful tones. Even with seasonal changes it will generally only take an hour to see everything your world can generate.
Proteus’ visuals are retro pixels: the world itself is rendered as large pixilated blocks and 2D pixels are used for all menus and text. This is contrasted by the fluid animations that bring a wondrous and eerie feeling when a rapid gust of wind blows through trees or a flock of birds soars passed.
There are no goals in Proteus. The gameplay comes from finding all of the unique sights within your world. You could discover a small island full of scampering chickens, an amnions graveyard surrounded by imposing statues, or a tornado that warps you through time. At times you could find yourself chasing a single frog across the whole island as it jumps higher and whistles new tunes. It’s unfortunate that there is no save feature: when you exit a world it will disappear forever. It will be your choice to visit a new world or quit Proteus after one adventure.
Proteus is a great game for anyone looking to explore without the pressure of difficult gameplay or objectives.