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How young was your child when they first played this?
How does your child play this? Alone, with friends, with family? How did they discover it and what kept them coming back for more?
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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Vane (2019) is an ethereal adventure in a ruined desert where strange golden dust transforms a free-spirited bird into a determined young child. The premise is not all that uncommon, but Vane stands out for how you soar over the desert and climb your way through dilapidated architecture and a crow-infested oasis. As you do, the world itself responds to your presence and the simple sounds you speak.

Vane is a game that can stand alongside the likes of Ico, Abzu and Journey both in its visuals and its themes. It is not widely known as it had errors and bugs when first launched. These have since been fixed by the developer who also added more save points. It's a real hidden gem on PlayStation and PC (and one that will surely come to Switch?).

Play involves exploring the world as either the bird or the child. You need to change between the two at particular places in the game, which you need to do frequently to solve puzzles and progress. This involves landing on dilapidated structures to call other birds to help you swing it into action. Or, as the boy, you climb and jump your way through huge buildings. As you progress, the world reacts to your passage, evolving and building into something altogether different.

More than the interactive play, Vane is a game where your perspective on the world changes not only what you can see but how you feel about it. What starts as a barren desert slowly gives up a rich and ancient history full of life. As a bird you can call to other carrion for help as a boy you have a different dialogue with the world around you.

There's no spoken narrative, but it's clear the experience asks questions about transcendence and sacrifice. This manages to move beyond silver linings and common sense to press into complex territory about our voice and the vanity of the words we say. How does language establish community and how does that relate to larger powers?

"The game's not-quite-wordless story is broadly an exploration of transcendence and sacrifice," wrote Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, "with some familiar scriptural overtones, but within that, it's a fascinating meditation on the voice. It's about speech as the basis for community, creation as a kind of exhalation, and the celestial catharsis of a bloody good shout. "

This culminates in an experience that stays with you after you have finished playing. Tumbling from bird to boy. The culmination as the world unravels and remakes itself in breathtaking and beautiful ways. Like Shadow of the Colossus, Journey and Limbo, it's a game that is focused on its unusual delivery and never strays from that path.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Vane 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 10 months ago.
Too complex for your family? There are lots of games similar to Vane. Here are some easier younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Traversal game with Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle elements. This is a single-player game.


Play Time: This game will take between 2 hours and 3 hours to complete.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 7 for mild violence that lacks any apparent harm or injury to human-like characters and pictures or sounds likely to be scary to young children. The overall look and feel of the game is dark and it features menacing creatures that could scare younger children.

Skill Level

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Older children will enjoy the wordless narrative as they engage emotions and thinking in Vane's unusual world.


Vane usually costs £14.99.


Steam Store PC £14.99
PlayStation Store PS4 -
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Traversal (Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle)

Accessibility: 10 features

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Developer: Friend and Foe Dev (@FriendAndFoeDev)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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