Visiontrick Media’s gorgeously innovative puzzler Pavilion launches on NVIDIA SHIELD, well ahead of its release on Steam and PS4. Surreal and dreamlike, this hand-painted beauty breaks all the normal rules of gaming to truly earn its odd, “fourth-person” gameplay tag.
There is a smartly-dressed, elegant man running around bizarre locations, solving puzzles to work his way ever-onwards, but you are not him. He is not your avatar. Instead you look on, godlike, and must find ways of convincing him to run, climb, act and progress. You do this by manipulating the environment and solving puzzles.
This strange character knows the same about his surroundings as you – which is to say, nothing. Does he even know you’re there, guiding him, subliminally controlling him through this deeply strange world?
As the game opens there’s quite deliberately little or no information. There are no tutorials, no text prompts and no explanations as to what’s happening, why, or how. You learn how the puzzles work at the same time as learning about the world itself, and at the same time as the smartly-dressed man. It’s a full-on mystery, which the character and the player find themselves in together.
As the world is somewhere between a dream and a nightmare, space, time and gravity may not behave quite as they should.
Pavilion works hard for that “fourth-person” concept. It’s not played from the usual third-person viewpoint, because you don’t control any other being. Instead it’s from the view of a more indeterminate being (or beings…) altogether, earning the game its rare grammatical designation. But it’s only part of the reason that Pavilion is so fantastically strange.
The 2D graphics are hand-crafted, and blend classically crisp, geometric architecture with twisting organic growth to create a surprisingly creepy, unsettling world. It’s a world that brings to mind the fevered medieval paintings of Hieronymous Bosch, along with the more recent surrealism of Salvador Dali. It’s sharp and soft, alluring and hostile, all at the same time.
Sometimes the organic elements are trees, roots, and flowers, but sometimes they’re statues of tortured-looking figures. Sometimes they’re just body parts, dismembered, incomplete or horribly distorted. Frequent rain, black clouds and lightning bring a darker mood to your mysterious environment.
Pavilion was already winning awards before its release, for its art, playability and sound design. And those sounds are, according to Visiontrick, absolutely as important as the visuals in creating the right atmosphere. Consequently it’s an eerie, ambient soundscape that accompanies the game. It’s the work of Tony Gerber, a lifelong creator of “space music” that blends electronica with guitars and flutes.
Download one of the most fascinating puzzle adventure titles in recent memory with Pavilion now on NVIDIA SHIELD.
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