Petrichor is an experimental point-and-click platformer, and I liked it quite a bit. According to the developers’ TIGSource page, Petrichor refers to “the pleasant smell of rain on dry ground.” Naming the game after such an ephemeral sense may seem odd, but it’s also a really solid name for a game, especially when it’s this apt. Petrichor is dripping (literally) with atmosphere, as you trek through a rainy night on an adventure. I recommend you play through the game before venturing too far into this post, because much of what makes it special is how easy it is to pick up and understand.
You’re a girl of unknown origin who starts off in a cave next to a fire, taking shelter from the drizzle outside. You soon find an umbrella, and a piece of paper outside the cave. Shreds of paper you find give upgrades when brought back to a campfire, so collecting them is the focus of the game to expand your verb set. You begin earning skills like jumping and climbing, and end up with more advanced techniques, that utilize the umbrella to its fullest and sometimes physically impossible abilities. Also, the right-click will always make the girl pull out her umbrella, and you’ll do it like a million times because of how cute it is.
Very little text appears in Petrichor, reminding us that smart game design through, well, playing a game, still exists. When you learn how to play by yourself without the bitter reminder of a developer holding your hand, you’re doing it right. Most of the game is linear with a few puzzles thrown in, and the game has a very chill, relaxed pace that lets you feel reward by each little accomplishment. My biggest complaint comes from the amount of backtracking that’s required, so much so that I ended up getting lost and reaching a game-breaking bug (that has since been fixed) a little over halfway through. I gladly played through again though, and recommend others to do the same.
The atmosphere extends beyond the limited tutorials and elegant art, as the use of sound deserves a special mention. The ever-present sound of rain is always calming, but the music played under it is very reminiscent of the traveling music from Skyrim. It’s soft, wistful, and added to my desire to explore this world. The track also builds as you become more powerful, and fades as your adventure reaches its end. Here’s a small detail that a lesser developer would have overlooked: The rain effect becomes muffled as you go in and out of caves. Neat!
Petrichor is a very interesting little thing that’s hard not to want to share. It’s short, clocking in at around 20 minutes, and leaves you with a desire to talk to someone else about it. I really have no idea what happened in the last 5 seconds. I’m not sure if any of its mysteries have answers, the developers seem to be a fascination with mystical, magical yellow objects for some reason, but the game’s atmosphere is worth your time by itself. The game’s TIGSource page seems to hint at a mystery or two, but I have no idea if there’s more there to find.
You can try Petrichor on PC for free right now, and the game is currently being developed for mobile platforms as well. You can also read more about the development of Petrichor and chat with the developers on its TIGSource page. Go solve those mysteries!