When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, life decided to spill that cup of lemonade I made on my computer, and now I'm without access to a dedicated writing box to spit my thoughts and opinions out at the world. As you can probably guess, this makes writing the words you're currently reading very hard for me to get out to you. But I've found a way, and that way is needlessly hard.
I'm currently writing these articles exclusively on a PS3 using the Sixaxis that came included with the system. It is a nightmare, but it gave me an idea: What other needlessly hard things could I do with gaming? This led me to what you're reading now. Can Journey be beaten without pressing the jump button? Find out right now.
Every Journey Has A Beginning
My journey started out deceptively easy. Every area that required any climbing could be walked up or I could make use of the floating pieces of cloth around the area to automatically float myself up to the places I needed to reach to continue the story. I was actually slightly worried through the first few areas because of how smoothly things were going.
That worry wouldn't last long, but before I start discussing the real challenges, I'd like to go on a bit of a detour in our story to talk about something that ended up helping me on my quest considerably. In the very distant past I managed to get into the Journey beta. It was only the first two areas, but I played them to death while I had the chance.
After playing those first two areas for God knows how long, I started to get bored. And with boredom comes stupid tests of the game's limits. I found myself trying to fly back to the start of the game's cloth bridge level just because it was much too high to reach by normal means, but I figured out that if you position yourself underneath the cloth bridge and start singing, you'll be thrown into the air like a slingshot. High enough to reach the start of the level on some occasions.
The Trials That Lie Ahead
That little mechanic I found out won't actually come into play for a long while, so let's get onto the first real obstacle I faced. The cloth ladders in the first underground area. My hope was that when I walked into them, I would automatically just float up them. My character did levitate when in contact with them, but he didn't rise up to the top. This was a problem.
I tried getting a running start when I started to float near them, but it didn't help in the least bit. So I kept trying from every different angle, hoping to find a way to slingshot myself up them, but it just wouldn't work. You can't get the cloth ladders to lay flat long enough to do it. Was my quest over so soon? Was I beaten by the first obstacle?
No, of course not! I found a way to get up the cloth ladders, but it was an insanely grueling and arduous task. I had to sing my way up them. When you sing in the game, you raise up off of the ground just an inch or two. If you do it fast enough while next to a cloth ladder, you'll continue to raise up until you reach the top, allowing you to continue the level.
The problem was it took about a twenty minutes to get to the top of each ladder, and there were about a half dozen ladders that needed to be climbed. I took so long getting through this one area that I had to take breaks in between ladder climbs to rest my hands and eyes or risk going insane over falling every few times. But after a few hours, I had reached the end of the level.
Only this time, I was faced with an even more annoying and difficult task.
The Dreaded Chamber Room
After you get past the area with the stone dragon things, you'll find yourself in some sort of chamber/tower area that fills with water as you light up hieroglyphs and ride different cloth creatures to the top of the tower. Its a pretty amazing and atmospheric level when you can jump. When you can't? Its the biggest head ache of the entire game.
First of all, you can't mess up even once after you begin lighting up the glyphs. The reason being that once the water starts coming in, any scraps of cloth you could use to float on either vanish or go into a dormant state after they've been submerged by the magic water. You can float in this water, but even with singing you can't raise yourself, so water is an instant restart if you fall in.
Secondly, everything is moving in this level. The kites that carry you seem to float where ever they want, the jellyfish will slowly drift away if they're bumped (which can also work to your advantage) and the whale is it's own nightmare that'll I'll get to in a moment. The problem with all of this is that you have to stand around and wait for the creatures to come to you (which they might never do)
And if you bump a jellyfish too far away you might even have to restart the level over again because you can no longer reach them from their original starting position. This can work in your favor though. Once you get onto a jellyfish you could sing in different parts of it's body to steer it closer to the area you needed to go. Helpful, but meaningless when you get to the whale.
Easily the worst part of this whole experience as the whale is almost always out of your reach unless you position yourself just right. It never gets high enough into the air to allow you to reach the end of the level, and it was incredibly easy to slip off of it, forcing me to restart the whole level over again. Because of this, it was an absolute nightmare that took hours to get past. But I finally did. How, you ask?
Remember earlier about my time in the game's beta when I would slingshot myself from under the cloth bridge? Well, the whale essentially has the same design as the bridge, so I could slingshot myself from under it, getting those precious few extra feet I needed to end the level. It took a massive amount of failures, and I nearly gave up. But I finally scraped on by to the top.
Every Journey Has An End
I was actually shocked I had made it all the way to the snow level. Here I was at one of the game's very last areas, without pressing the jump button a single time! I was sure I had gotten past the hardest part of the game, and it would all be smooth sailing from then. Oh how foolish I was. My greatest obstacle yet was still waiting for me. I just didn't know it yet.
As I went through the level, my character's ability to sing got progressively weaker. I was still able to sing my way up ladders, but it was getting harder. I was relying more and more on the unpredictability of the slingshot technique to get me up certain areas. But it wasn't nearly as difficult as the previous level. Until I reached the fall, of course.
Right at the end of the level you get blown into a small ravine. No big deal, right? I could just sing my way up some scraps of cloth and be at the end of the game in a jiffy! But wait... I can't sing anymore. The ability has been completely taken away. My character just bobs his head and no longer floats when the button is pressed.
Even worse, the scraps of cloth are too small to slingshot myself with. The gap I need to get across is no more than an inch or two off the ground, but my character just can't get past it. He slides down the hill when I try to walk, he can't sing anymore and there is no cloth to throw myself off of. I'm officially stuck just a few feet away from the game's final level. But I'm persistent. I had to reach the end now! Too much has happened to just give up!
I restarted the level and timed my steps just right so I didn't get blown down the cavern. I got past the impossible area and made it to the final level. This was it. My hours of hard work have paid off. I REACHED THE END OF JOURNEY WITHOUT JUMPING. At least, I thought I did. The worst thing ever was waiting for me at the start of Journey's final level: You have to jump for the level to begin...
Hours have been spent getting to this point. I have put myself through nonstop mind numbing torture trying to get from point A to point B. And my journey is cut short by a forced jump. There was nothing that could get me out of it. I had no tricks or techniques left. The game was over. You cannot beat Journey without jumping. But at least we can say we now know the answer if anybody asks if it's possible. As always, thank you for reading.