If you haven’t yet, you can play the game here.
When I had last left off, we had just finished the third chapter of One and One Story. Halfway through the game, we’ve already seen that the game has been changing its rules, and that these rule changes have been used to help tell a story. I shall continue where we last left off; the beginning of chapter 4.
Level I.1 is shown again. As with the previous rule, the player’s movement causes the girl to move as well. This time, she will move in the opposite direction. You move left, she moves right. In my opinion, these level, the first one in particular, was a bit frustrating because I could never seem to get the girl to go the right place. This could be intentional, or a double effect of the story snippet from before: “Sometimes we had different views”. Not only do they now go in different directions, but a player’s frustration at the girl not quite doing what the player wants could also be simulating an argument between the boy and the girl. These “different views” could be the two sides of an argument. 3 levels later, and the chapter ends.
Here’s where things start to change. Instead of playing level 1.I again, we are dropped off in a new level entirely. As is somewhat hinted in the text, the girl is now always running forward. She isn’t running away from the player, as the player might expect. However, her constant motion puts pressure on the player to get to her quickly before she runs into danger. If we take the message from last chapter and this chapter, we see something shaping up. We again say that the two had an argument of sorts. Whatever it was about, the girl now “runs” from the boy. The boy tries his hardest to keep the two together, but it seems to not be working. After only two levels, the chapter ends.
The next chapter, there are two rule changes. First off, the player is no longer able to jump. This was alluded to in the text. The other change is that the player is now able to switch control over to the girl. This is the first time they’ve reused a rule, so it has to mean something. The man not being able to jump represents him feeling like he can’t do much without the girl. The other rule change, the rule that was at the beginning of the game, could represent the man’s desire to go back to the old days, back when things were simple. Also, the two levels in this chapter represent this return to simpler times. Instead of complex looking levels, they are relatively simplistic and easy to solve.
This chapter has us on the I.1 level again. This time, it is dark with light around each of the characters. The rules are the same as at the beginning of the game, except for the inability to see. When the boy and girl get closer, the light around them expands and more of the darkness is erased. This time, this is the only level. This darkness could be representing the two characters’ lives after they have split apart; it is difficult to navigate and gloomy. When the two are together again, the light has expanded and their lives are brighter. With the two together, the world seems more inviting.
This is the last chapter of the game. You start on a cliff, with the words “Trust Me” next to it. At first, you hesitate, but then you decide to walk off the cliff. The words are solid. As you walk, more appear. It ultimately says: “Trust Me, I won’t hurt you. Not Anymore. My Dear Love.” There are actually two possible routes at this point. The first path is to walk over to the girl. This simply takes you to a “The End” screen. The other option is to walk into the darkness on the left side of the screen. “Out of this world, in an endless fall.” These endings have many interpretations, but no one seems more correct than another. If I were to talk about some of these interpretations, I’d be talking about this game for another week.
What I feel this game does a good job at is demonstrating how changing the rules of a game can be used to enhance a story and the game as a whole. By telling the player what the changes are, the player quickly adapts and is able to keep playing. This game is a good example of how a game doesn’t always need concrete rules. However, if some rules change, some rules must also be kept constant. If every rule were to change, it would be an entirely different game. By only changing one rule at a time, the game feels like one slightly changing game, instead of several completely different ones. One and One Story doesn’t feel like several games rolled into one; it feels like one experience.