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Yet again another interesting puzzle game caught my eyes a year ago. I saw announcement trailer of The Sojourn, that told a story about human life and all various parts of it. A little bit of anarchist-vibe of society and its rules, some magical world that have to be found and parallel worlds of light and darkness. I wasn’t sure does this thought-provoking game have storytelling, but I was intrigued alone by the gameplay. I hope The Sojourn brings something different and unusual.
Developer has described the story as follows: “You are born into a beautiful, pure land, but everything is not as it seems. Darkness seeps through every crevice and forms the foundation of the world you live in. Open your eyes to the shadows of the world to uncover the hidden truth.“
The gameplay doesn’t include much of the story, other than some quotes here and there. The story was tried to tell with statues of different people doing some key things, but sadly I didn’t get much out of that either. I really thought The Sojourn would contain storytelling voice actor, very much like in the announcement trailer (end of the review).
Gameplay & Controls
Player has to solve puzzles in various stages. The main thing is to move statues by switching place with the player, but there’s certain tricks to that, so it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Then comes certain beams that need to be pointed in correct direction and sound making machines that plays little tune to bring up bridges until the tune is over. All these ways how puzzles have to be solved are quite innovative and I got stuck on few puzzles for some time, because of the unique techniques. This puzzle system overall was surprisingly good and definitely something new. With the controls The Sojourn was easy and simple and everything worked perfectly without any issues.
The Sojourn looks nice and sleek. Heavily detailed it isn’t, but the little rough looks fits to this game. The lighting effects, shadows and overall look was beautiful and clean. The surrounding areas of the stages were interesting and changed as I got further, making little freshness to the gameplay. The settings offer two different choices for the graphics: favour graphics or favour framerate. I played this with higher graphics and the game ran smoothly. Trying favouring framerate was fine, but I personally don’t like to play with too high framerate.
The background music was likeable and all sound effects OK. What got on my nerves was that tune making object used in most of the puzzles and the sound effect it made. Listening the same tune countless of times as I tried to solve a time consuming puzzle was rather annoying.
I’m not sure about The Sojourn difficulty. I got stuck on some puzzles quite long time when the others were much easier and then again came couple that took some thinking. Sometimes I had to leave extra puzzles behind since I couldn’t solve them. What makes this difficult was the way puzzles had to be solved and it took some time to get used to that. The game introduced few new additions as I progressed and again it got some time to get them in my system. So, I would say this isn’t hard game, but something new and tricky that get time used to. Only few puzzles were impossible, at least for me.
I ended the game with positive mind. The Sojourn was a peculiar puzzle game, the kind I haven’t played yet. There were some introduction to the gameplay in the beginning, but I would’ve liked some more. Especially, when I wasn’t sure ‘can I do this’, ‘can those moveable statues to that’, and it went to trying out which ruined my puzzles couple times. That is probably the only little minuses I can say about this. Surely puzzle lovers will like this, but there isn’t much of a story as I expected. The Sojourn is excellent and innovative with the puzzles, but lacking of a clear and intelligible plot.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
RELEASE DATE: Sep 20, 2019
GENRE: First-person puzzle game
DEVELOPER: Shifting Tides
PUBLISHER: Iceberg Interactive
PLATFORMS: PlayStation 4
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