There are games that hold your hand and guide you through the nuances of the first few levels, gently introducing you to controls and functions. Then there are games like Visiontrick Media’s Pavilion, which leave you (quite literally sometimes) in the dark right from the start.
Pavilion is billed as a Fourth Person Adventure. Instead of guiding someone around by directly controlling them, you control elements around them to guide them to the right place. It doesn’t even attempt to tell you what you’re supposed to be doing and you won’t find any text in the game.
It’s clear, early on, that pressing on certain parts of the environment will have an effect on the mysterious human character that appears from nowhere. Guiding them to the exit is the main aim, but this often involves many puzzles along the way.
Ring bells and he’ll walk in a certain direction, turn on lights and he’ll avoid dark patches, move blocks of light and he’ll follow them. It’s all focused on light and sound, a theme that seems to run throughout.
The artwork is worth mentioning. Although level backgrounds are fairly static, they contain a lot of detail and, more importantly, set the scene in place of any tangible story elements. From strange lands with half broken statues to modern city apartments that don’t feel quite real (deliberately so), this almost dream-like series of landscapes paints its own story. There are even a few jump scares as the game takes the familiar and twists it.
But it’s the puzzles that make the game. They ramp up the further you go in the game but all of them are logical despite some of the surroundings being less so. The feeling of getting the character through the door or the portal in to the next level after solving a particularly tricky puzzle feels like a reward, not least because you get to see the next fascinating environment that the game throws at you.
This is also the sort of game that feels at home on both mobile and on a TV or monitor screen, a perfect fit for the Nvidia Shield and you can see why it was chosen to launch here first as a timed exclusive.