There are almost 200 countries on Earth, but we often see games that take place in the same queue. With the development of the game spread to many places around the world, there are more opportunities than ever to get small digital views of some of the territories. Bye is one such game, as it is an open-world exploration-focused title that is heavily inspired by the New Caledonian culture. And although it may seem a little on the thin side, its Oceanic setting and charm is taking over slowly.
ByeIts open world can be compared to others in the genre at a glance with its vast mountains, lush greenery, and an array of wild animals. Its stylized art direction works in tandem with brighter colors to create a beautiful location that invites players to explore. No poison swamps or volatile volcanoes like Death Mountain Bye.
And although it may be lacking in areas such as Breath of the WildThe aforementioned burning zone, Bye has some elements in common with that important game of 2017. Tchia, the titular protagonist, can fly and climb, both of which are dictated by a circular stamina meter. Collecting special fruits expands this meter, allowing for longer hikes and flights.
Movement is smooth since, despite being a small child, Tchia can jump high and move around like most other able-bodied video game protagonists. He can also climb tall trees and use them as springboards to get up in the air, which is a lot of fun.
His Soul Leap ability gives him a small advantage, as it allows him to easily inhabit any object or animal around the island. Getting a bird makes Tchia fly and poop on command while owning a deer makes it easier to cross land. Soul Leaping into things is silly, but can also be used wisely for movement purposes, as violent separation causes Tchia to shoot into the air, a function that can also be used during battle to attack the cloth-like animals.
Since Soul Jumping is dictated by a different meter, the game seems to be built for players to go from gliding to commanding birds to get around quickly. Such a loop seems like an attractive way to make the movement more involved, but it is not so Bye set up like that.
Monsters aren’t very common, which means players don’t always seem to have the means to continue chaining targets. This hinders combo potential and means that going around the old-fashioned way will be more common than going around through, say, a boar or a deer. It’s a little disappointing, but maybe spending more time with its systems and later upgrades unlocks more of its potential. It’s possible to keep animals in Tchia’s backpack to Soul Jump in a pinch and those with fast reflexes can Soul Jump on a catapulted object to cover more ground, so it looks like there’s a lot more at play here. .
Having fewer than expected animals is part of a bigger problem with its open world because it’s a little on the empty side. Trinkets (a form of currency), chests, and stamina-boosting fruits are scattered across the island, but those small rewards seem to be the most common items spread throughout its landscape. These doodads are nice and work as incentives to explore the island, but isn’t that exciting and a little counter to what players naturally want to explore.
There is no mini-map and only a vague compass points players to their goal, which itself can be easily turned on and off by pressing the right stick. As shown in games like Spirit of Tsushima, with players living in the world instead of constantly looking at heads-up displays is more immersive and something the medium should embrace. And while still appreciated here, it’s surprising when this forward-looking approach is matched by its collection of predictable and basic items.
There are other mini-games to be found such as races, shooting galleries, and totem carving stations (which are used to unlock totem shrines), but the balance isn’t all that great. there. It’s better that you don’t Assassin’s Creed Valhalla bloat level, but should also have stronger knock factors. Hopefully, the full experience will have a more accurate division and give players more reason to look for its many reefs and rock formations.
And even if the world seems like it might be a little physically barren, it’s not culturally barren. ByeNew Caledonian roots are present in almost all its tropical corners and it is a joy to witness. The characters speak French and Drehu and the food they eat and clothes they wear (some of which Tchia could wear) all reflect the region and give it a unique soul. Local talent also provides the music, playing the game because Tchia can strum a few notes on his ukulele to change the world of the game. Out of respect for the traditions of New Caledonia, it is not literally New Caledonia, but it seems to be close and this inspiration provides a welcome bit of virtual tourism in a place that most people will never visit.
hath ByeThe world is the most promising part of the experience, although some of it has a caveat. But it’s possible that its open world would have blossomed more fully without the context of a small demo. But even if its sandbox is corrupted, Bye still has a beautiful style and is cheaper than a ticket to New Caledonia.