After giving Journey a decent amount of play time over the last couple of days, I can safely say it is one of the most beautiful art styles I have seen in gaming and a shining example of what games in the Art game genre can achieve.
The game uses colour not only as an aesthetically pleasing element, but also as a method of effecting player mood and behaviour (Alongside music cues). When the player is wandering from area to area, the colour pallet is often bright and vibrant with warm oranges and deep reds. When the game needs to take on a more lonely or negative mood, the game darkens the whole colour pallet and use cooler colours. Simply taking a screenshot of the game at most times produces something beautiful and clearly shows a focus on the visual style of the game.
The art does not just look good either. The art style is also a vital part of the games design toolkit. Due to not using UI, the game has to be very intelligent with its use of player direction. The player is often out in the open with few landmarks to lead the player in a set direction. Despite this, thanks to a signature landmark (The mountain in the distance) that leads the player in the right direction and good camera movement that zooms the player out a large distance whenever the game calls for it. Through the use of lighting, the player is often subtly drawn to important areas or pointed in the right direction to look for the answer. This method can range from something as subtle as more light making its way through some ruins than in other areas to obvious cues such as bright light beams illuminating areas of a cave.
Each environment in the game uses a unique focus colour that helps distinguish what would usual be a number of plains with occasional ruins scattered around to many unique and separate environments. From rich red plains to Icy blue cliffs and Teal caves, the environment design carried the game in so many ways (And considering the gameplay lacking overmuch beyond light platforming, this was important). Usually, gameplay of this nature would get old rather quickly were it not for the stunning art direction, entertaining platforming abilities (Sand surfing and flying) and length of the game (3-4 hours, although I took slightly longer due to taking a few notes). The game perfectly filled the time it requested and will stay in my memory far stronger and longer than games of far greater length and complexity.
Both through the use of gameplay manipulation and art direction, the player is always going in the right direction and feeling the appropriate way when required to fully capture any given moment. The art direction of this game is fantastic and easily an example for others to strive for.