In Vision by Proxy, you are a nearly blind extraterrestrial who sees by stealing human eyes. When you steal a pair of eyes, looking out through them gives you a different perspective on the world. A child’s world is full of magic, while an engineer sees the hidden uses of things. To progress through the game, you must collect eyes.
Your alien character does not power up by collecting eyes. Instead you gradually gain access to different interpretations of the level’s layout. Thus, ideally, the game is about remembering that you can more easily climb the little girl’s play-fort then the anime chick’s Japanese temple. Some perspectives give you access to the insides of things, or to a variety of floating platforms.
This game has evolved quite a bit since its initial incarnation, and some of my original complaints have been addressed. In “Vision by Proxy: Second Edition”, there were only four eyes to collect, but in the more recent iteration (“Ms Vision by Proxy”) we are introduced to seven or so. This is great! When we enter a level we aren’t certain what eyes will be available, and only after developing a vocabulary of game objects we can begin to predict what eyes we need in order to progress.
That being said, it still suffers from the levels being too big for the hero: the gameplay is a little like a metroidvania, but the RPG elements are not played up enough for trekking back and forth across the level to really be exciting. In addition, the puzzles are not really difficult or focused and solving them ends up feeling inevitable. This game needs an overworld map, or teleportation, or something to make the player feel like they are gathering information towards eventually solving the puzzle, rather than just walking back and forth.
I think I’d like to play a similar game in which there is no central “main character”. Rather than having the one character collect all the other perspectives, the player could switch between the perspectives, essentially teleporting around the level. This way the player could get an overall sense of the layout without actually having to trudge around it. Each available character would be trapped in some way by terrain that they can’t perceive their way around. In order to advance, the player would need to gradually “combine” the available characters, allowing them to explore larger areas. Maybe the characters are robots with different sensors that can literally combine to share information. Maybe the characters don’t occupy the same time/space, and each other character appears as a ghost to the rest, haunting a particular location. Communicating across this ethereal barrier could provide a mechanism for combining perspectives.