Ether One is a very unique and ambitious idea for a video game. You are an employee of the Ether Institute of Telepathic Medicine. As such, it is your job to navigate through the minds of clients who have been diagnosed with decease.

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Jean Thompson is one such patient, a 69 year old women who has been diagnosed with dementia. Working at Ether One as a “Restorer”, a person with the ability to project themselves into the minds of patients diagnosed with illness, it becomes your job to physically navigate the living, breathing world of their minds in the hopes of piecing together fragmented memories and reconstructing them.

Once in the mind of your patient, the world seems not quite right and there is a sense of foreboding that serves to create an atmosphere of imminent despair all wrapped up in the beauty of these memories that are being lost to the disease.

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The gameplay can best be described as first person adventure/exploration with puzzle solving elements. It’s in the collection of various objects that you may need to solve these puzzles that Ether One succeeds in demonstrating to the player what must be a frustration beyond words to be suffering with dementia, the more objects you collect the less you remember what goes where. Whether or not this is an intentional design choice by the developers or not, it brilliantly serves to bridge the gap for the player.

Graphically, like so many “Indie” titles, there is a perfect balance between what is needed to further the story and what isn’t. I’m sure that when you’re a small studio and resources are limited that these decisions must be a normal occurrence of development, however; I feel that it’s a distinct advantage for some studios in the sense that they need to be conscious of these limits and its this very fact that at times serves to facilitate this balance.

Ether One is a smart, creative game that doesn’t put any constraints on the player at all. Want to skip a puzzle and progress anyway, sure; but you may feel like your missing something worthwhile. You’re free to explore and take in the story any way you choose. However, should you decide to delve deep into what’s there, you’ll get a good amount of gameplay from this title. There’s also a real sense of playing something that stands out from the pack and takes you, the player; just as seriously as itself and the subject matter.