Recently there have been a couple of fourth-person puzzle games coming out such as the GO series. Lara Croft GO was the first we were to experience, and it showed us that there are still unique ideas waiting to be created. Pavilion takes things in a slightly new direction by implementing some great gameplay mechanics and stunning hand-drawn graphics. Read more in our Pavilion review.
Platform Used For Pavilion Review: Gigabyte P35, Intel i7-4720HQ 2.60GHz, 16GB Ram, GeForce GT 965M
Developer: Visiontrick Media
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Indie
Recommended If You Liked: Lara Croft GO, Hitman GO, Deus Ex GO
Pavilion has you playing as a man. A rather ordinary man at that. He has no super-powers, is scared of the dark and is also relatively unadventurous. The whole world is a mystery and even the gameplay can prove to be a bit of a conundrum. There is no text tutorial or beginning explanation. All you are given is a man, a gorgeously drawn environment and a cursor that is controlled via the keyboard. The cursor is there to help this man navigate his away around puzzling labyrinths.
Puzzles generally require you to create a pathway to an end goal such as a door, moving platform, archway or other such method of progression. To do this successfully you’ll need to prompt the man to move by ringing bells. Each bell is connected with a symbol on the floor that the man will run to when the bell is chimed. Sometimes there will be obstacles between the man and the symbol on the floor that will require moving, other times there may be lights that need to be turned on. As I mentioned previously, this man is scared of the dark, so he won’t run through areas that have no light.
The puzzles in Pavilion are really well thought out and are rarely too hard that you start to get frustrated. This is a good yet bad point depending on how you like your puzzles. Some people might find there is a lack of challenge that is instead replaced by long-winded requirements. Other people (like yours truly) will find the puzzles are quite satisfying to complete, especially when lateral thinking isn’t your cup of tea.
A lot of the mechanics involved in solving the puzzles are very imaginative and well planned. One such example of this is when you come to a point where your cursor is “upgraded” and can start to reflect light off reflective surfaces like crystal formations. The light provided will allow the man who is afraid of the dark to proceed. Other small nuances like being able to smash your way through wooden planks with an elevator are quite entertaining.
Along with moving the environment to allow the man to proceed are smaller puzzles inside chests of drawers that activate doors etc. Also you’ll need to make sure the man accesses some drawers in order to retrieve a key to progress.
So the gameplay keeps you hooked but does the story? To be honest, I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. At one point near the beginning of the game you see a woman in white running around in an area you can’t access. Who this is, is a mystery. But to be honest I didn’t really care, I just wanted to get to the next puzzle so I could continue to test my brain! Of course there is a lot of mystery surrounding the story of the game, but that’s completely intentional. Curiosity is a powerful thing.
Stepping away from mouse and keyboard controls, Pavilion takes us back to the days of only being able to control a game using the keyboard. Here’s where a few people might kick up a stink. The cursor feels too slow when moving it around with your arrow keys, and sometimes when moving blocks around the fourth person plane, you can easily get confused as to which keys you should be pressing to get it to move in the direction you want.
However, personally I can see exactly why the game is controlled primarily via the keyboard. Often you will come across puzzles that give you a short time limit to activate the next required object. If you were able to move the cursor quickly with your mouse, the impact of needing to hurry would be lost. Controlling the cursor with only your keyboard adds that much more of a challenge to an already brain-bending game.