Need to know
What is it? A 3D puzzle platformer featuring a scarf
Expect to pay: £12.49
Release date: Out now
Developer: Uprising Studios
Reviewed on: Ryzen 7 5800, RTX 3050, 16 GB
Link: Official site (opens in new tab)
Many developers are influenced by other games, but no one’s made their homage quite as obvious as Uprising Studios did here—one look at Scarf’s titular piece of wool, and it’s impossible not to feel reminded of Journey. While Scarf goes for a similar mood, it’s absolutely its own thing, for better and worse. More than just some magical thread, this garment is a sentient being, and the key to the game’s puzzle-platforming gameplay.
Scarf starts with your unnamed character coming into being: a little blue person with a funky haircut, anime eyes, no mouth and a black hole right in the middle of its chest. The scarf comes to them in the (very rough) shape of a Chinese dragon, calling them a hero, and saying that they, as a being of light, have been chosen to fix the scarf’s mother. None of this introduction makes sense, and yet it will be the last time Scarf will attempt any sort of explanation, opting instead to tell its story mostly non-verbally.
(Image credit: Handygames)
Story-wise, it will take the attentive observer roughly five minutes to figure out that Scarf isn’t meant to be a calm safe haven—that’s when your scarf transforms into a giant claw to suck at another small person’s essence. Scarf is as unsubtle with these narrative hints as it is with its puzzle solutions, pleading with you to get ready for its big twist. And it swerves between confusing non-verbal bits and painfully obvious narration by a spectacularly miscast voice actor.
This is a game that invites association to Journey, and generally promises no less than a good time, but it then wastes your time by locking its ‘good’ ending behind an otherwise pointless collectible hunt. This manages to casually render your efforts across Scarf’s 3- to 5-hour runtime entirely moot. Despite mimicking popular elements of other games, their implementation leaves a great deal to be desired. Scarf is nothing you haven’t seen better elsewhere, many times over.
Scarf is a game eager to use many elements that have generally proven popular, both in its gameplay and narrative, but their implementation suggests a lack of skill or resources to make them actually engaging. Looking beyond the attempt at what’s actually there, Scarf is nothing you haven’t seen better elsewhere, many times over.