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The Team ICO series is thus far a trilogy of games featuring a shared world and intuitive action/adventure gameplay design. It's not a series in the sense of the Halo or Resident Evil series, and is more of a universe that three stand-alone games take place in. The games focus on adventurers in barren worlds, working as a team - with one player controlling a hero and the companion controlled by the PC, accomplishing things together that they could not do alone. There tend to be few usable objects, and the main character's inventory is highly limited. Most of the puzzles involve creative use of the nearby terrain in an intuitive way. Dialogue is sparse, and the story of each game may seem very minimal, but on later analysis opens itself up to many interpretations.
The three games are all connected by the appearance of horns on certain characters, which mark them as sharing the blood of a god.
- Ico: A boy with horns is imprisoned in an ancient castle. There he meets a girl who is also imprisoned there by the evil Queen, her mother. The two attempt to escape from the castle.
- Shadow of the Colossus: A young man goes on a journey to revive a girl. He must slay a series of giants called Colossi to do so. Gets reborn as a horned boy in the end after fusing with the local god/devil.
- The Last Guardian: A little boy goes on a journey with a pet horned baby (colossus-like) gryphon and together they grow.
This series provides examples of:
- A Boy and His X
- ICO - A boy and his princess.
- Shadow of Colossus - A boy and his horse.
- The Last Guardian - A boy and his pet gigantic baby horned griffin colossus.
- Death by Newbery Medal - From simply looking at the trailer for The Last Guardian, some just get the impression that's it's hardly likely that both the kid and the baby griffin are going to survive the game.
- Horned Humanoid: Shows up in ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, with the protagonist of the latter being the first chronological example.
- Human Sacrifice: A weirdly common motif.
- Kid Hero: Ico and The Last Guardian both have one.
- Living Shadow: Both in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. In Ico, they're your enemies, born from the souls of the sacrificed boys in the castle. In Shadow of the Colossus, they're spirits of each slain Colossus, but all they do is stare before you wake up.
- Minimalism - The games are stripped down to their core gameplay elements, with few distractions and almost no sidequests. Shadow of the Colossus is notable because the player has the same two weapons for the whole game.
- Pet Interface: Agro in Shadow of Colossus and the gryphon in The Last Guardian.
- Scenery Porn: Orgies of it.
- Thematic Series: Team ICO is one of the few developers that invoke this trope deliberately, instead of as a way to get around loss of copyright. ICO and Shadow of the Colossus (and presumably The Last Guardian) all share a common aesthetic and themes, as well as being placed in the action adventure genre, but are otherwise stand-alone titles. There are loose storyline connections, but they are almost completely inconsequential to the game experience.