Review: The Pillar: Puzzle escape – Movies Games and Tech

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If you have read any of my other reviews, youll be aware that Im a great lover of most genres of games. Like all gamers the world over, I have my favourites, but Im happy to chance my hand at anything that comes my way. With limited gaming time available to me, Im always keen on anything with the tag Casual, so when my latest review title dropped in my in tray, it instantly piqued my interest.

The Pillar: Puzzle escapeby developers,Paper BunkerandEastasiasoft, and published by the latter is a casual exploration adventure puzzle game that takes place in a magical and colourful land. You must control an individual who is lost within this maze of ever growing intricate problems, where your only escape is found by solving every puzzle linked to the mysterious pillars that appear during each stage.

The gameplay takes place over 7 levels and opens with anintroquest that acts as a tutorial. Here you will learn the fundamentals of the 4 different colour-based puzzles that you will face. As you venture onwards, you will encounter more elaborate problems, and though the solutions will stare you in the face, the intricate design will test the logical part of your brain.

Ive played a lot of this genre over my long gaming career, from;RivenandMysttoCall of the Sea, and manyArtifex Mundigames. Though Im not an expert, Im comfortable enough to say that though you will be tested throughout your time with this title, the puzzles arent particularly hard to solve. You must connect a set number of coloured squares together in one continuous path. Whilst doing this you must also fill all the empty blocks. If you cannot connect the right colours, or leave a space empty, then the problem remains unsolved, and you must try again. There are 4 varieties to enjoy and solve, each getting progressively more difficult as you progress.

It wouldnt be part of the puzzle genre, if this wasnt the main concept, however, there is more to this than just the colour trials. Exploration and observing the finer details of the world you currently call home is a must. Clues are etched into the walls, and float above you in the surrounding air. Each level contains jigsaw pieces that make up a picture when completed. They are hidden around each stage, and must be found hidden between rocks and within the vegetation. Failuretocollect all the parts wont prevent you from progressing, youll simply miss out on a high score, and most of the achievements.

This genre is renowned for its beauty, and the other games that I have already mentioned look fantastic, with a great atmosphere that is created from a combination of; beautiful music, deep lore, stunning scenery and excellent audio. DoesThe Pillar: Puzzle escapematch up to its peers? In places, yes, though some elements let it down. Graphically, it is reminiscent of the vivid world ofSeaof Thieves, combined with the mysterious approach taken inMystandRiven. That is a big compliment, and a massive thumbs up for this developer, but when you closely inspect the environment, it doesnt look great, and shows signs of being dated. Now, it would be fair to argue that this genre doesnt need AAA level design, but when the developers want you to immerse yourself in the world they have created, I expect the imagery to be better polished than the final product produced here. It isnt terrible, and the bright and vivid tones match the mystical theme, I just wanted more!

The audio is very good. The sound of echoed footsteps can be heard throughout, which only serves to emphasise the sense of isolation. The piano music adds a sombre and calming atmosphere that then changes dynamic and pace as you edge close to the final obstacle of each stage. IfPaper Bunkerhad captured the brilliance of the audio within their graphics, they would have been onto something special.

There are certain games that consoles do better, and ones that the PC excels in, so would this be better played on a PC? No! The control system is smooth, accurate and works well with a controller. I had no issues with solving theproblemsand selecting objects was asimple task to achieve. The developers have done well to create a straightforward title to master, which helps to create a relaxing andlaid backgaming environment.

When a game has a small variety of puzzles to crack, and 7 levels to explore, it impacts the replay value. An easy achievement list can be unlocked in approximately 6 hours, and a full completion is achieved in around 8 to 10 hours. So, you get a fair bit of game time for your money. At $14.99 it is good value, but its lack of new puzzles once its finished, and no NG+ mode reduces the desire to return and play.

The Pillars: Puzzle escapeis attempting to stand out in a crowded and niche market, where the leaders of the pack are extremely strong titles. A much simpler approach makes this an accessible game compare to the others, but I cant ignore its graphical short comings. Had this element been spot on, it would have scored 7.5 out of 10, but it has to be marked down slightly for these issues. With this being said, do I recommend you try it? Yes. A great entry level title that can be played casually, with an excellent audio and nice graphics (if you dont look closely at the details.)Can you unlock the mysteries of the pillars and escape this magical world?

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Review: The Pillar: Puzzle escape - Movies Games and Tech

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