Journey is not a deep game: not in interface, nor storytelling. It is a very straightforward game that depends on honest emotive content to convey feelings. It poses no game-over, no challenge that holds *conventional* consequences. If you fuck up, your scarf gets smaller. That’s it.
It is beautiful on its own, but many of the themes are dependent on the ‘multiplayer.’ While trekking through deserts all alone, you will (thanks to the wonders of an internet connection) come across other players, one at a time, at random. No voice chat, no keyboard communication. You are only able to press a button to sing to each other. Being near someone when they sing also helps you fly. Many of the strongest moments in the game are made stronger when you are paired with someone else: tragedy and other emotions gain a random element because your friend may fuck up, disappear, or be uncooperative at the worst of times- and there is something sublime when you and a stranger are huddled together, creaking your way up a blizzard-stricken cliff face.
Journey is minimalist, but the story is aided by symbols. The main ones are discussed in the video.