Developer: Giant Squid
Platform(s): Apple TV via Apple Arcade, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 (Reviewed)
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Pathless is a wonderful gaming experience where you take the role of an archer with the aid of an eagle. The game is a journey through a forest that has been corrupted and you must defeat the bosses to bring it back to normality.
The game is set in a cel-shaded forest and the art style is the texture of the world you inhabit. The game is open-world technically but the gameplay is fairly linear, the game involves solving a series of puzzles and navigating the world to each boss section. A huge emphasis is placed on the exploration of the world.
The game’s main mechanic is using your bow to hit diamonds which gives you a burst of energy that speeds you through the terrain. This is a satisfying sensation when you hit each diamond too. Using this mechanic you can chain together a series of hits to race through the amazing world. There is a real sense of achievement chaining your movement throughout the game. Your eagle is your trusty companion that lets you fly and glide through the landscapes. Puzzles either use a combination of using your bow, pressure points and elements of platforming games to scale buildings. The lack of a map is interesting but further emphasises the gameplay through exploration. The sonar mechanic is used to help you to guide you to points of interest.
The setting, detail and artwork are amazing. It has a unique feel and the soundtrack (Austin Wintory) is used effectively throughout. The cel-shaded textures and the pace of the game adds a real serene feel at times. Game mechanics as mentioned above gives a sense of movement, gliding and flying, it’s a wonderful experience. The boss elements are where the land lights up and the use of the richer reds and fire transform this game. This dichotomy enhances the feel of the game, the score sets the mood and binds the games together.
The one downfall is that there isn’t much replay value in the game. The game mechanics and puzzles aren’t too complex and it’s a bit samey at times. When a boss is encountered it breaks up the gameplay considerably and turns the game into another cinematic feast. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and the cinematics of the world. I liked the emphasis on experiencing the game with the sparse tutorial and no map. It’s a game that craves to be explored. It’s something that will take probably less than 10 hours to complete. If you are looking for something a bit different on the PS5/PS4, I would recommend getting it. I found so many parts enjoyable, it’s a feast for the eyes and ears.