Playing by way of The Sojourn is each entertaining and irritating. On one hand, it presents sometimes satisfying, advanced, and completely difficult puzzles and an summary, considerate narrative. On the opposite hand, its gameplay and story are minimally linked, and its gameplay can get repetitive and tedious, operating longer than it ought to. I didn’t hate my expertise with The Sojourn, however I ought to have preferred it greater than I did. I needed to seek out one thing that made its features come collectively and imply one thing really particular, however in the end that by no means occurred, souring the expertise over time. Though The Sojourn has a slew of satisfying puzzles and a thought-provoking narrative set in a phenomenal world, its inconsistencies make for a messy expertise that solely shines by way of in sure shiny moments.
“Though The Sojourn has a slew of satisfying puzzles and a thought-provoking narrative set in a phenomenal world, its inconsistencies make for a messy expertise that solely shines by way of in sure shiny moments.”
You enter the world of The Sojourn contextless and directionless, solely guided ahead by a small mild that enlightens your path ahead, taking you thru the life of a kid within the recreation’s world. You are the eponymous sojourner, there briefly to view the world, and also you solely see this story by way of baroque-style statues that signify essential occasions all through this youngster’s life, from beginning to leaving its mother and father and past. Each chapter and, furthermore, every puzzle is titled and signified with a sure side of life, ramping as much as match the story because it culminates by the tip.
It’s evident from the start that one thing is totally different on this world. Characters, although they act like regular individuals, all the time put on blindfolds, and, with out wishing to spoil, it turns into clearer how and why because it pushes ahead. As it does, it poses some attention-grabbing questions on energy, wealth, and enlightenment with few solutions. Because it portrays the participant because the sojourner with out giving context as to who the individual you’re controlling actually is, you’re capable of absolutely immerse your self on this planet and formulate your individual philosophical solutions once you return again to actuality.
After the preliminary entry, although, it’s completely attainable to overlook the story. As the story of the individuals you observe is advised solely by way of the statues, there’s no dialogue. As you progress by way of the degrees and the journey, you’re free to maneuver shortly to the subsequent set of puzzles, and for those who don’t take the time to research the statues, it could possibly grow to be complicated shortly. The solely different main technique of storytelling is thru the environments throughout the puzzles. Every world has its personal environmental model and tells its personal story, complemented by a various colour palette and delightful rating. While you’re within the puzzles, although, the environments within the distance take a again seat to the gameplay and may typically fall to the wayside completely.
“Every world has its personal environmental model and tells its personal story, complemented by a various colour palette and delightful rating. While you’re within the puzzles, although, the environments within the distance take a again seat to the gameplay and may typically fall to the wayside completely.”
Filling the area between the narrative segments is the puzzle recreation on the core of The Sojourn. Your process is to traverse every puzzle to free your guiding mild by utilizing a set of statues that present distinctive advantages to cross the gaps and keep away from the obstacles in your means. The solely strategy to work together with the statues is to enter a “darkish” model of the world. In this model, you’ll be capable to teleport and swap locations with one sort of statue, strum a harp and rebuild damaged bridges with one other, and ship a stream of the darkness throughout the stage with a 3rd. Stages grow to be more and more difficult as you discover new obstacles, like gates that must be unlocked by placing a statue in a specified location, and new automobiles into the darkness, like a gate that may allow you to toggle the darkness each time you stroll by way of it.
As puzzle video games go, the first puzzles are delicate. Each puzzle is categorized as its personal stage, and every stage is compact, supplying you with the whole lot you’ll want to remedy the puzzle instantly firstly of every stage. This places way more stress on the complexity of the puzzles themselves, and the phases are often easy sufficient to finish. As it progresses there are some roadblock ranges that pose a a lot stiffer problem, however the actual challenges are available non-obligatory phases and challenges, that are the star of the present if you would like a harder expertise. Nearly each stage will append one other, harder problem onto the stage after you launch the sunshine, and you may go away the extent and progress the story or proceed to finish the second puzzle. The more durable post-stage challenges award “deserves,” that are successfully scrolls with fortune cookie-like sayings on them, however these are one of the best puzzles within the recreation as a result of the journey to get to their finish is all the time rewarding.
Across the marketing campaign, nevertheless, there are quite a few inconsistencies that make The Sojourn really feel prefer it had separate elements developed in a vacuum. Mechanics are sometimes launched at seemingly random factors within the story, with vast ranges of time between introductions, together with a a number of hour lull that leaves little time to acclimate to late-game mechanics earlier than the ultimate push. This causes the sport to get tedious at factors, feeling such as you’re doing the identical challenges repeatedly with none new parts, and too quick in others with a barrage of recent parts. The development system additionally adjustments in every chapter, switching from an elevator to a mountain climb to a portal that brings you to a completely totally different space that comprises the puzzles that unlock the trail ahead.
“The Sojourn feels prefer it had separate elements developed in a vacuum. Mechanics are sometimes launched at seemingly random factors within the story, with vast ranges of time between introductions, together with a a number of hour lull that leaves little time to acclimate to late-game mechanics earlier than the ultimate push.”
These culminate in a sense of independence between most of the recreation’s traits, particularly between the narrative and the gameplay. Aside from having to free the sunshine on the finish of every stage, there may be little or no reference to the story in any of the puzzles, neither is there any connection between the puzzle parts and the story moments. The puzzles are framed as obstacles that are supposed to gradual your progress within the story, and it feels as if neither provides something to the opposite. The ultimate chapter amplifies this sense, too, as a result of it stretches its gameplay content material to accommodate for the completion of the story. As you progress by way of the chapter, there are not any new parts launched, and the puzzles don’t get considerably longer, extra advanced, or harder. There isn’t any motive for it to proceed so long as it does apart from the completion of the story. This makes what’s in the end a 6-Eight hour expertise really feel prefer it overstays its welcome. While the gameplay itself is often satisfying, by the tip you’re in the end finishing the identical process each time, and it doesn’t really feel prefer it has gotten any harder or it’s paying off the work you’ve put in to get there.
Throughout The Sojourn’s playtime, you’ll discover some shiny moments, each within the puzzles and within the narrative. If you’re taking the time to delve into the story, it presents some profound questions, and the puzzle gameplay is rewarding, particularly within the more durable non-obligatory challenges. However, to get there, you’ll should chug by way of immersion-breaking design inconsistencies and an expertise that takes too lengthy to wrap up. The puzzles and narrative are attention-grabbing on their very own, however, as a full bundle, The Sojourn has disappointingly impartial parts that make it a messy expertise.
This recreation was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Beautiful and colourful environments; rewarding troublesome puzzles; thought-provoking narrative.
Story and gameplay really feel impartial; inconsistencies in pacing and development; tedious and repetitive gameplay by the tip.
The Sojourn has an efficient story and sometimes rewarding gameplay, however its inconsistencies in gameplay, pacing, and development make it lower than the sum of its elements.