Pavilion: Chapter 1 is out and we forgot to tell you. Oops!

Pavilion

We’ve posted a few times about pretty isometric puzzler Pavilion [official site] over the years but, rather crucially, didn’t post that it was now out. This seems like a good day to rectify that, especially as I’m in the mood for some soothing puzzles as I nurse my cup of tea this morning.

Pavilion is the one which looks a touch like Monument Valley in that it takes a similar Escher-esque approach to isometric level and art design, with staircases and platforms aplenty. The actual interaction is not of the geometry-replumbing kind, though. Pavilion is about encouraging a character to move through the world by attracting or repelling them. If you manipulate them correctly you can get them to open up passageways and find objects or step on pressure plates – it’s that sort of lock-and-key game loop where each progression seems to meet a new locked door and you puzzle out the key.

As per the devs:

Pavilion takes place in a world unknown to both the player and the main character. A surreal dream-like place where reality clash with fantasy. Fully realised in beautiful hand-crafted 2d graphics and dreamy ambient music that makes for an unforgettable audio-visual experience.

The developers, Visiontrick Media, refer to it as a “fourth-person” game which is irksome in so far as it seems to obscure what’s actually going on. To clarify, you’re playing as a sort of hovering gold blob which can only interact with the main character indirectly.

I’ve only just started playing so I don’t know how complex it might get but the interactions at this point are things like switching spotlights on or off so you encourage or deter the character from walking along particular routes. There are also bells which can entice him over to particular pads. You might need to encourage him over a series of pressure plates to open a door so it becomes about interacting with the right elements in the right order. The character has a certain amount of predetermined behaviour so I’ve found myself trying to “trick” him into doing my bidding at times.

The controls are a little odd, in that you can either use a gamepad or space and the arrow keys. It feels like a game that should lend itself really well to mouse interactions and as a result playing keyboard or controller both feel strangely slow and occasionally frustrating. There’s also an eye-tracker version if you have the tech for that but I don’t so I have no idea what that’s like in terms of its implementation.

A word to the wise: this is chapter 1 of the game. Chapter 2 will be coming as DLC in 2017, although it’s not clear to me from digging about in discussions and reading blog posts whether this will be an extra cost or not. From reading comments on forums it sounds like the game takes a couple of hours complete or thereabouts, however as it’s a puzzle game your mileage may vary.

From this site

7 Comments

  1. iucounu says:

    Fourth person would be what, ‘we’?

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    johannsebastianbach says:

    Looks beautiful, but your description of the controls kind of turned me off.
    Will there be a Wot I Think?

  3. MrBehemoth says:

    “Fourth person”? Ick!

    The use of grammatical person in describing games mechanics/genres has always bothered me. Technically “first person” games are closest to what is rightly called “second person”, as in “you go here, you shoot that.” A “first person” game would be one that tells you, “I go here, I shoot that” – so maybe the only type of game that could be in the first person would be a text adventure where the protagonist is describing their actions to you.

    This game, like every other game where you can see the protagonist, is third person. It’s no more “fourth person” than any other game that allows you to influence rather than control the protagonist(s). Lemmings, for example. Calling it “fourth person” is an attempt to generate a gimmick where there isn’t one.

    Having said that, it looks really pretty and sounds like something I would like to play.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      No matter, all talk about fourth person and associated gimmicks will be forgotten when we move further into the fourth dimension, i.e. time.

    • Sir_Deimos says:

      I would argue that perspective naming doesn’t transfer cleanly when you change medium from book to video game – it may not even be a concept that can be broadly applied since the player’s role in the game can vary wildly.
      When reading a book, there are very clear boundaries between narrator, the text itself, and the reader; so 1st person, 3rd person, etc. work well. However, when playing ie. CoD the boundary between the player and the protagonist is supposed to be non-existent. Even though the text on screen may read “Go to Alpha Objective” the player interprets that as “I need to go to Alpha Objective” not “The protagonist needs to get to Alpha Objective”, making the “First Person” classification make sense. However, in a game like Civilization, the player is not controlling an avatar within the game world and so those boundaries are well defined again and even though the player is thinking “I should build a granary” you wouldn’t call Civ a 1st person game.

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