I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for puzzle-driven adventures, especially those that got a good little narrative to help hook you into the adventure. Peregrin, the latest release from Green Man Gaming Publishing, is one such title, putting you in a grim world as you look to seek peace and solace by completing a myriad of enigmas. It makes for an entertaining adventure, though one that’s also got a few issues as far as providing an invigorating challenge goes.
Peregrin puts you into the shoes of Abi, a young girl who goes on a perilous journey through a world that has been torn apart by the Gods. There is a reason for this journey though, with Abi hoping to seek redemption for her people. What exactly did they do? You find that out in the game. In honesty, Peregrin’s story is one of its highlights, with the gripping tale hooking you in right until the very end. The less you know will only make your experience with the game all the more rewarding, especially with some of the little twists that come your way throughout.
A lot of the tale is further developed through calls between Abi and her people back home (each of which is shown in an almost Metal Gear Solid codec style). These conversations go into a bit more depth about what’s happened to the world, its people, and Abi herself – they really fill in the blanks as to what exactly is going on. Furthermore, you’ll also uncover monoliths scattered across the land, with each one teaching you a bit more about the world’s history and how it ended up in the state it’s in. Each element of the story telling focuses on different things, with Abi’s conversations showing the more personal side to the story that the monoliths miss out on.
Peregrin features two points of gameplay that are based around Abi’s ability to possess and take control of the living creatures around her: puzzle solving and combat (though the latter could feel more like a puzzle-driven experience than an action one for the most part).
The game’s puzzles are based around possessing a small group of animals that are found in the environment. You’ve got the Troll that can lift heavy objects, the Ram that can hit down obstacles, and the Frog that can lash out its tongue to interact with the environment. Each puzzle you come across will require you to utitlise each creature’s ability in a variety of ways: it might be something as simple as using the Troll to move a huge boulder and then use it to block incoming fire from an imposing turret, having the Ram barge into a piece of the environment to create a small bridge for Abi, or even using the Frog to hit a switch that Abi couldn’t reach on her own. Either way, each puzzle always has a solution set in stone that’ll require the use of the creatures around you to solve.
The problem is that with only the three creatures on offer the puzzles started to become predictable fast, with none of them ever really proving to be that much of a challenge to solve. There was never a moment where I had to scratch my head and think something through, especially since I knew exactly what each creature was capable of and could spot the telltale signs of their use almost immediately. It also doesn’t help that you can only possess creatures within a certain range; whilst this would typically prove a hindrance to overcome in solving a puzzle, it instead made it incredibly obvious which order you needed to possess each creature in.
Whilst the puzzles are enjoyable enough, they simply started to feel like too much of a routine. Peregrin would’ve really benefited from a few extra elements to really spice up gameplay as you progressed, if only to just make the player feel a little bit more challenged by everything that was thrown at them.
Combat is a little more interesting, with each battle situation seeing you face off against multiple foes in a strategic showdown that pauses the action whilst you decide what to do. Whilst Abi can attack directly, she’s also able to possess enemies and make them fight for her. Whilst your goal is to defeat all of your enemies, the trick behind it typically is to simply distract them long enough to divert their attention from Abi – if you possess a foe and have them attack one of their allies they’ll all gang up on them for example, leaving Abi both safe from attacks and able to throw in a few sneaky ones of her own during the furore.
There’s typically a real thought process required to each battle that could actually feel a little similar to Peregrin’s puzzles, given that they typically boiled down to simply working out what order you needed to perform each action in; surprisingly though, the combat often felt a bit more difficult to solve. Either way, it was satisfying enough and I enjoyed the test that came with each encounter with the world’s dangerous enemies.
An aspect of Peregrin that I really appreciated was the superb art style. Whilst the environments typically had a simple design, they all had this almost haunting presence to them thanks to the diluted look of your surroundings. That’s not a bad thing either, with the lack of vibrant colours almost a metaphor for the dire situation the world finds itself in – it’s an effective design choice that resonated with me throughout my playthrough.
Some of my favourite moments were when the game would zoom out the camera to a 2D perspective, showing off the epic scale of the world and some of its fascinating sights in the process. Whilst there’s no denying that Peregrin isn’t the prettiest game out there, its art style is effective in offering an alluring world that’s fantastic to explore. There’s a decent variety of environments on offer too, keeping you engaged in said world right until the end credits.
Peregrin features a stunning game world to explore and an intriguing story that’ll keep you hooked in right until its final twist, though the underwhelming puzzles dampened the experience a little. It’s not that they’re bad by any means, but rather that they lacked the substance to really offer a perplexing puzzling experience – they simply felt like a series of processes that became a bit of a routine to complete.
Still, I couldn’t help but to enjoy my time with Peregrin. Its simplicity in design is countered by a game world that felt fantastic to explore and uncover more of. Whilst the puzzles might not provide the enigmas you’d hope they would, they don’t stop Peregrin from offering an enjoyable little adventure that’s worth embarking on.
Developer: Domino Digital Limited
Publisher: Green Man Gaming Publishing
Release Date: 08/08/2017
Format(s): PC (Reviewed), Mac