Ico is a puzzle platformer and an action/adventure game. The game takes place in a beautiful castle where a boy is sacrificed because he was born with horns on his head. In the castle he meets a strange girl, Yorda, and the two need each other in order to the able to escape from the castle. The game is filled with puzzles based on the surroundings of the two children who both have different abilities that have to be used in order to solve them. Also, it seems that the castle is haunted by shadows which often have to be fought before the player can continue on.
The first time the game is played ‘Yorda’ is only moved by ‘calling her’ from different positions but after the game is completed for the first time there is a ‘multiplayer’ option for replaying the game where one player can play the boy and another the girl.
- Release date:
- March 26, 2017
How to play Ico
One of the biggest accessibility issues of the game. The visual accessibility is in fact not really addressed in this game at all by the makers. The surroundings are beautiful but shadows and darkness are plentiful and there are really no options that offer better view or contrast for the player outside of the PlayStation and television’s basic options themselves. Those can sometimes be sufficient but very often they are not and the contrasts in this game are very dependent on location and full of grayscale. Sound in this game is also almost purely there to set the mood. It doesn’t really help.
An interesting option is that a visual impaired player may play ‘Yorda’ in the multiplayer mode. Since Yorda’s actions are fairly simple, the other player could help ‘guide’ the visually impaired player to the right location, which could still be interesting in its own right. Still, this is not an official option.
No real problems. All texts in this game have subtitles allthough some texts are not meant to be understood and thus subtitled by gibberish. The only (almost) purely sound based function is for the boy to ‘call’ the girl to him. The player is best served by paying attention to the way the character stands and holds their hand by their mouth to call out when using that option. Outside of that this game is easily playable when dealing with a hearing disability.
Can be very difficult. While this game contains no regular ‘button mashing’ it does contain a fair amount of fairly precise button combinations and timing in using them that the player needs to play their way across. The game does contains options the player can use to ‘switch’ the button settings around, but the fact that they will have to be combined and used at certain ‘fairly exact’ times will not change. A player with more than mild motoric problems that show up in the use of their hands and handling speed will likely not be able to complete this game beyond the beginner levels which still can be played through without real ‘button combinations’. The precision is too great and the game offers no real ways of getting around that. In fact, the only thing that is consistently easy to do during the game is fighting. It contains little variation and the challenge needs few buttons. Only the ability to use a joystick and to push a single button.
Cognitive accessibility is very difficult in this game. The original version of the game can actually be quite hard without any cognitive problems. The player is asked for a keen memory for their surroundings and the offered puzzles can easily lead a player to get stuck and frustrated. The game also offers literally NO in-game tutorials and the booklets offered with the game are very limited and simple. They purely describe what ‘each button’ does for the player. The game offers plenty of chances to ‘try out’ which buttons to use and how to find your way around but there are many, many places where a player can easily get stuck. Not even necessarily because the puzzle is that hard but because the player was simply not provided with the right instructions on ‘how to play’.
That said, after the game has been completed for the first time a player has the option of playing this game in ‘multiplayer mode’. One of the two characters (the girl yorda) is much easier to play than the other (the boy) and it is possible for a player with a cognitive disability to still enjoy the gamehere and possibly be helped along a bit by their partner. After all, this game can be cooperation play at its finest so it is not a complete impossibility.