Sunday, May 3, 2020

REVIEW: Path of Giants

Who doesn't love a good puzzle game? Path of Giants is one of the better puzzle games I've played so far this year. The married duo of developers at Journey Bound Games whisk players high up into the icy mountains where dozens of unique puzzles await.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Path of Giants courtesy of Journey Bound Games.
Opinions are my own.

Path of Giants is a serene puzzle game through icy caverns and snow covered cliffs that puts you in control of three explorers on their quest for a lost treasure. Each level requires you to use teamwork between the explorers to help them solve the puzzles, putting an interesting and unique twist on a puzzle adventure game.

This quiet and peaceful puzzle game provides a decent challenge while never getting particularly frustrating. Instead, Path of Giants creates a calming, atmospheric environment that's inviting as it is challenging.

Puzzles in Path of Giants are divided into twelve chambers, each with three or four smaller puzzles. The goal of each puzzle is to direct the three explorers to their color-coded platform so that all three may advance to the next puzzle. As a sort of boss battle, each chamber also ends with a "connect the pipes" puzzle.

Managing all three of the explorers is the key to solving each puzzle. There are certain switches that can only be activated by a particular explorer, and explorers need a buddy to climb up and down ledges. While certain puzzles are small and may seem pretty straightforward, they often require explorers to retrace their steps and repeat certain actions to ensure all three explorers reach the end at at the same time.

Path of Giants also lets you figure things out at your own pace. There are no time limits on puzzles and a quick un-do button allows for experimentation. And even though there appears to only be one exact solution for each puzzle, controlling three characters allows you to take the steps of each puzzle in any sequence you like.

While playing Path of Giants, I was remind of classic LEGO Star Wars levels where each character had their own abilities and had to work together to get through obstacles. I really wish you could use the analog stick to freely control each character and play in co-op with two friends.

Finding three hidden coins in each of the twelve chambers will unlock a thirteenth chamber featuring more puzzles and a more comedic epilogue to the explorers' story. There's also four bonus Winterfest levels which seems kinda lame considering the main levels already take place atop a snowy mountain.

That's my only major complaint here. While the setting is beautifully crafted in some stunning 3D graphics, every level is visually similar. I'd love to have seen the setting change slightly every few chambers. But hey, there's always the sequel.

Path of Giants is a short game, but it has decent replay value due to its calming nature and unique level design. Since you can't die in the game and a quick button press will undo any move, the worst you could find yourself in is a puzzle that's just a bit too hard. However, I personally never felt frustrated with any particular puzzle. If I were to completely start over next month, the puzzles are so unique that I'd still have to figure them out all over again.

And hats off to Journey Bound Games for inclusivity and accessibility. Not only are the three explorers genderless, but the game gets around one of the biggest problems a lot of color-based puzzle games face: colorblindness. Path of Giants allows players to customize the colors of the three explorers. Bravo!

Path of Giants is a puzzle game that takes the scenic route into your heart. With it's hand-crafted levels and "work together" mentality, Path of Giants provides a unique challenge that remains enjoyable throughout. It's the perfect kind of zen game yo go back to every now and then.

Path of Giants is available now on iOS, Android, Steam, and Switch.