Bloody hell, how about a heads-up next time? The adventure game connoisseurs at Amanita Designs – of Machinarium, Samarost and Chuchel fame – only went and dropped a whimsical new game without warning. Released earlier this morning, Pilgrims is freeform romp around a lovingly drawn map, guiding a band of misfits on their merry way. Bounce through the woods, make deals with devils, kings and woodland critters, and try to wrap up the personal stories of your travelling misfits. Or don’t, and simply join them for the ride.
A deck-building adventure game, Pilgrims already has all of that hand-crafted goodness I’ve come to expect from Amanita.
Pilgrims is a jolly little freeform jaunt through an old storybook. Rather than following a set sequence of puzzle-ridden setpieces, you’ve got a bit more free reign to pick your way through a dense little world of castles, devils, bears and skinny-dipping. Rather than pixel-hunting for the right MacGuffin, you’ll accrue more items and characters in the form of cards, building up a little deck to play around with.
Each stop in Pilgrims is a small scene, one you can drop any combination of traveller and doodad. Sure, you can do the adventure game thing: Follow the leads, solve the puzzles and complete little stories for each traveller. But there are countless opportunities for mischief by dropping the wrong person in the wrong place at the right time, and they might take you down a path you never quite expected.
Amanita stress that this isn’t so much a game to be beaten as a toy to play around with. I figure Pilgrim will still boil down to hunting the clues for every last story beat, eventually. But the longer I can put off begrudgingly hitting up an FAQ for one of these, the better.