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The Collage Atlas review – a gentle wander in sketchbook dreamscapes

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October 23, 2020 at 08:30AM

IK Multimedia's T-RackS 5

iPhone, iPad (via Apple Arcade)
Beautifully hand-drawn scenes frame a mindful journey – although the motivational quotes could be more poetic

The Collage Atlas’s standout characteristic is obvious from first glance: everything you see in the game has been hand illustrated in pen and ink. As you walk, scenery materialises in black and white in front of you, intricate gates open at your approach and rain comes down in black lines. Stop stock-still at any point and you’re looking at an absurdly detailed sketchbook drawing. The art, design and ambient music were all created by John William Evelyn, whose talent is evident in every frame. From glasshouses to skyscapes, floating islands to underwater lighthouses, this picture-book world is consistently beautiful to look at and meander through.

There is much repetition of motifs and scenery: lanterns, crumbling theatre-prop moons, anchors, grandfather clocks. This is out of necessity, as every drawing is so elaborate, but it does sometimes make it hard to navigate the game’s abstract dream-world. Paper windmills planted in the ground or pillars of light show you the way to the next area, but when I tried to explore beyond the obvious path in search of secrets, the repeating patterns of arches and grass proved disorienting.

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