A meditative audiovisual experience
HRANA is a free adventure experience created by Buldozer. This experimental exploration game is a unique, immersive experience that puts you in control of a traveler moving through a hand-painted landscape that contains a meditative vibe on top of its history-rich background. By interacting with various objects available, you unlock more of the scenarios and more of the story.
Unlike most exploration games like Proteus or Braid, HRANA features minimal dialogue and characters. It’s more of an introspective journey examining the main character and the environment around him despite its effective use of voice acting work.
Your multilayer art game
Most games are focused on an objective and conflicts that prevent you from achieving them. There are no such things with HRANA, leaving you alone with your thoughts. Furthermore, it’s made unique by the developer's hand-drawn artwork inspired by the real-world region of Sudetenland, in areas now part of the Czech Republic. The painting features ruins, abandoned buildings reclaimed by nature, and something that resembles a field of giant nails.
Its gameplay is simple, using a point-and-click mechanic to guide the tourist around the area. There are no enemies or hazards to be wary of. The use of light, often pastel-like colors, creates a relaxing feel throughout the game. There are interactive points to examine, yet it doesn’t include anything resembling items or objectives. Also, there are weird and surreal elements to the game but they don't pose any threat.
The game also has a short playthrough; you can finish the game in a little less than 15 minutes. There are no secrets or alternate endings, and the only one it has is vague and left to the player’s imagination. Basically, the game just lets you navigate a giant artwork, with the emotions and interpretations all left to the player’s hands.
Not a game in the literal sense
Simply put, HRANA is not a game in the literal sense, but in a surprisingly good way. It has no clear objectives, its story relies on the player doing the extra work outside of the game, and is played simply by pointing and clicking. It’s more of a meditative audiovisual experience, one whose content is based on complex ideas. This work is worth playing despite its short playthrough.