September 27, 2013 9:48 AM | Paul Hack
Symbol is the latest playable hallucination from Lilith Megiddo, author of Crypt Worlds. Symbol is much shorter and less "gamey" than Crypt Worlds. It's more akin to Lilith's earlier reverie-based game, Tape Dream, but it has a much larger area to explore. Playing Symbol is like walking through a melancholy, menacing dream. In fact, it is partly based on the developer's dreams of imaginary, unreachable places in early 3-D video games.
Symbol is primarily about atmosphere and mood. You explore a twilit stretch of land and the structures clustered around an old burger joint there. Buildings are in disarray and seemingly transported to this dimension from another place, as if each one was plucked from a different dream or memory and dropped here, with all of their potent but undecipherable imagery in place.
The controls are standard for a first-person game: WASD to move, space to jump, mouse to look, left-click to interact. You can open doors and collect some objects, which all seem to have some great importance besides simply allowing you to access another area. Depending on what objects you collect and where you take them, it won't take you long to reach one of the game's three surreal endings. I'm not sure if any of them could be called "good" endings, but they're all good endings, and worth discovering.
Symbol is a captivating experience with a few surprises up its sleeve. It's unsettling and enigmatic, but it's not without a sense of humor. I hope Lilith keeps letting us play around in her dreams, even if they're on the darker side. You can download Symbol for Windows, Mac, or Linux.