Deaf Game Review – Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

Game reviewed on PC

Ancestors: The Human Kind Odyssey Deaf Accessibility
5.5 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
Sound visualization is a nice balance of accessibility and challenge, individual volume sliders for various things, toggleable sound visualization
Cons
Not a thing!
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a brilliant game that launched a couple weeks ago, somewhat quietly, on the Epic Games Store, and it’s brilliant. Both in gameplay and Deaf/hoh accessibility.

In it, you play through evolution creating new neural pathways as you figure out how to do things and what you can do with your surroundings. It’s hard as hell to play, as it should be because evolution is difficult, and my biggest success so far is discovering how to consume water out of my cupped hands.

Baby primate drinking out of cupped hands.

The game tells you from the start that it won’t be offering you much help, and that is certainly true. The whole game is an act of discovery and trial and error.

The cool thing for Deaf/hoh players is that this is a very visual game. You’re told to use your senses to survive and in many survival games, this spells bad news for Deaf/hoh players because when you need to listen to things and said things are not visualized, you can’t very well play the game.

But here, sound is visualized and there’s even a button (the game is played on PC with a controller) to activate it, which is something I wish every game had.

Scene illustrating sound visualization.

The sounds are visualized by those vibrating yellow circles you see on screen and in time when you’re disoriented or afraid, it’s visualized in a much scarier manner:

Sound visualization showing glowing eyes and teeth moving around the screen.

Those creepy teeth? Those are nearby creatures primed and ready to kill you making scary noises nearby. Both instances of sound visualization tell you the approximate distance and location, which for this type of survival game, I feel is right on the mark in balancing accessibility with challenge.

All in all, Ancestors: The Human Kind Odyssey is very Deaf/hoh friendly and if you’re a survival fan or a science nerd, I highly recommend it.

See below for menu screenshots:

Game options
Graphics options
Audio options
Controller layout
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Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com

Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns. courtney@caniplaythat.com