Studio Giant Squid debuted four years ago with the soothing underwater adventure Abzû, but its founder Matt Nava has an even longer history in the field of peaceful, relaxing experiences. If I add names like Flower or Journey, where Nava was responsible for the art side, to the diving adventure, you will probably get a basic picture of the direction of the November title of The Pathless.
It does not deviate in any way from the set template – a breathtaking environment with a ubiquitous, partially spoken threat, which you can discover with a more or less anonymous hero. In this case, a heroine, known only as the Hunter, who sets out to save the island on the very border of being, where the living and the spiritual intertwine.
A piece of untouched earth clung to its clutches of darkness in the form of a masked hunter of the gods, and so you had the task of saving the light represented by the spectral animals that you must free. The story of The Pathless is not without words or texts scattered across the landscape, but it primarily relies on storytelling with images and symbolism. Even a very minimalist to zero user interface will suffice.
In order to liberate the majestic animals, you must collect the seals hidden in the four vast regions, especially in the ruins and monuments of an extinct civilization. You can rely on your discovery instinct, or use a magic headband to navigate, highlighting puzzles and points of interest, as well as places you’ve been.
They will never reveal too much to you, or you will not find out whether the reward for solving the puzzle will be a seal or just another piece in a jigsaw puzzle from the history of the mysterious world. In addition to the seals for the liberation of the spirits of the old world, The Pathless also rewards inquisitive explorers with golden dots and then turns them into feathers, thanks to which your bird companion can hover you ever higher.
On the slopes of the mountains, in picturesque valleys and bends of rivers, the company will make you a unique wildlife, but above all the most loyal partner of the lovely Hunter – the eagle. You can move around the open spaces on your own feet and ensure the smoothness of the steps by precisely shooting down the ubiquitous targets, but also with the help of a winged partner, you can be carried up to the clouds over time and enjoy the whole landscape nicely from the top.
Both are very intuitive and actually unique, but require some practice. The game never puts pressure on you and the penalty for failure practically does not exist, but it will take a while before you sail the region with the wind for the race and you get used to the appropriate rhythm of shooting while running.
The capabilities of the DualSense to PS5 driver are also used, so adaptive triggers simulate the feeling of stringing and haptic response when moving, but honestly, this is not such a major change from the older DualShock. The Pathless was also released on the iPhone, where the control on the touch screen is less intuitive and more stubborn.
Although you would probably expect the Hunter to “hunt”, her bow is largely used for non-combat purposes and solving puzzles. Sometimes you have to light a lantern with a well-aimed arrow, other times you have to stand in the right place and hit the target in the right line. Other times, you have to use an eagle, which, in addition to the Hunter, can also carry various weights and let them whistle on the right switch. Most of the types of puzzles will be introduced to you by an introductory tutorial, and then the game only varies them in various variations.
Yes, there are occasional fights. To free the creatures of light, you must first chase them and catch them before you get to that real multi-phase boss. Some of the moments can be remembered in the Shadow of the Colossus, when you have to hit a sensitive place in the tossing giant beasts, others are an environmental puzzle in their own right:
Other times they require a little sneaking in you, in moments when they are confiscated by an eagle, without whose help you are defenseless and you have to quietly free him. On the other hand, you will be rewarded for the liberation by the possibility of fluffing his fluffy feathers, and even if you see the animation twenty times, cuddling with an eagle is magical and you won’t get bored. Unlike other, somewhat repetitive passages. Especially the puzzles start to repeat themselves soon and seem too familiar.
It adds to the somewhat dull feeling of playing. In addition, you can’t even succeed in conflicts in the true sense of the word – if an enraged animal hits you, you lose a few points of endurance, or you return to the beginning of the relevant combat sequence and frustration will never be left too long.
The main storyline will keep you busy for about six hours in good faith, but the world of The Pathless hides a lot of optional challenges that you don’t have to encounter at all with a purposeful approach. However, the obsessive use of the scanner does not seem to count much on the game, so we recommend forgetting that this headband has this ability at all and let yourself be carried away by your own curiosity and joy of playful movement and exploration, where music speaks more than words as usual phenomenal Austin Wintory.
In short, the students will not enjoy this piece much, although they are tailor-made hidden challenges of the time trial type, which, on the other hand, will not be appreciated by those players who have come to rest in the dark blue world. Overall, this is a piece that is not very worth playing in one piece, but rather enjoy it for several sessions, so that you do not have time to notice how many ideas are repeated.
After all, the very name of the game refers to aimless wandering. The Pathless doesn’t care so much about where you go and why you would go there, but once you’ve met so well, you should find your own path to your goal.