To some, Proteus is a very tranquil and peaceful first person experience, to others it might be dull and pointless. There is nothing really here other than exploring randomly generated islands all in a lo-fi pixelated setting. The game seems to have a base soundtrack of lo-fi synth beats that gets added to based on what you’re currently looking at. Trees, bushes, insects, animals and tombstones will all form a melody as you walk by them.
There is no death in Proteus, just walking around. The islands seem small enough to be fully explored. If there are any caves, or underground areas, I haven’t found them. Since this is an exploration game, there is only walking. There is a sit button, but there is no running, no jumping, no zoom. No crafting, building or creativity, just walking.
You’ll see day turn to night, the sun will set, the moon will rise over the ocean. Summer will turn to fall, fall into winter. You can stand on mountains above rainclouds, or go down to be in the rain. You can see the stars begin to trip out and pulsate. Comets will fall from the sky and other seemingly random things. Plus portals that will suck energy orbs into them and warp you away to the next season.
While you won’t die, there is an end to each game. Winter will lead to the end, a closing, a goodbye, but again there is always a new island to explore. Since the game generates different islands each time you play, one island can have an uncreepy graveyard, a circle of statues, a cabin, a bay full of crabs, a flock of chickens and another island can be seemingly barren. It is always a new trip to a different island.
When you evaluate whether or not to play Proteus, you need to evaluate what you’re looking for. Are you looking for something to relax and zone out? Are you looking for a clear cut objective? No matter how hard you explore in Proteus, you won’t find any objectives other than ones you set for yourself. Do I go over that mountain or do I follow that snow owl in the trees? The choice is yours. While someone might be able to get hours of exploring Proteus through dozens of different play throughs, but others might get bored after 5 minutes. You can complete the game in an hour, with fifteen minutes in each of the four seasons.