Created by Plastic, the developer behind Linger In Shadows (a weird tech demo released in 2008), Datura follows the same genre perhaps best described as interactive art. Or perhaps arthouse.
When the game begins you – in fact a floating amputated hand – wake up in a darkened ambulance, ripping sensors off your chest as the cardiograph flatlines. From there your disembodied alter ego is thrust inexplicably into a leafy-floored and mildly creepy forest. This forest – with its statues, doorways and trees hung with odd objects – acts like a hub to which you return; and from here you can interact with the game's eclectic selection of scenarios.
All that these episodes have in common is an overwhelming strangeness successfully designed to replicate the insolent logic of a dream – or a nightmare. It would be unfair to say too much about these chapters, as they are to be interpreted, or "solved" as per the preference or the personality of the player. Not that there is much story to give away. Various actions have to be completed using the Playstation Move motion controller, which works very well here.
Not a line of dialogue is spoken. The story is deliberately left open, to be filled with your own explanations. This player was left hoping for a little bit more information as the abrupt ending is not so much enigmatic as annoying. In fact, in all this randomness there is very little on which to hang one's hat of comprehension. And what has it got to do with datura, the toxic or hallucogenic flower variety also known as angels' trumpets? Possibly the whole game serves as a warning against picking and eating them.
The wafting, dreamy score is great, with ambient tracks that compliment the game very well, and because there is no dialogue, it certainly sinks in. Visually the game looks fine and there are some nice effects, but the animation can be stilted and at times is downright poor. But for a downloadable title, it's serviceable and the floating hand is an ingenious avatar.
The whole game lasts only an hour or so, but there is incentive to play through it again as there are a few choices you can make which will give you a slightly different outcome. This is enough to get you hooked; you want to see what other weird scenarios the game has to offer. It keeps its promise that there will always be something strange going on.