One of the things that I found with Pillar was how much the game grew on me. I won’t lie, after the first 30 minutes I was ready to trash it in this review, it felt hollow and drawn out for no reason whatsoever.
That was the first half an hour though, as soon after it was like I had an epiphany; the way the game blends the story is really engaging. The music plays a huge part in this as it draws you in and gives you laser focus on what is happening on the screen, whilst at the same time allowing a story to unravel in your head.
Essentially you play through the game by choosing levels from a number of personality types. Some of these, such as Distant have you finding ways to sneak past people to make it through to another part of the level. In the case of Distant you can freeze time to set up a series of switches and speakers to force the inhabitants to investigate whilst you sneak past; whilst Focused has a similar technique, but is based upon real time distraction, using shouts from your character.
Then there are others like Enduring and Renewing, which are designed to work in tandem to solve mazes and collect orbs. They each have a different strength and finding ways for them to work together is vital to success.
What is nice here is that there is a decent amount of variation. Some are excellent, whilst others might not feel as engaging as you’d hope. But the fact that this game is trying to add variation shouldn’t go unnoticed, even if it isn’t working perfectly the whole time.
As previously mentioned, the story isn’t spelled out for you at all, but it does become apparent that each character is heading towards the same goal and with a little deduction, you can piece together some important elements to tell the story yourself.
That is the biggest thing that will stick with me long term. I totally forgot in the end that there was no story being told to me directly and everything I was realising was from me, it was happening in my head. It is the anti-Bastion in this regards and it works really well.
The main issue that I have is that in trying to add variation to the game, there is a bit of point where it came across as running out of ideas, so let’s just tweak this a bit. It doesn’t ruin the experience as such, but it does make some parts feel a bit of a drag.
There isn’t much to say about Pillar, it cannot be recommended to everyone, because it clearly isn’t for everyone. But if you like to use your own imagination whilst being tested, then you will get a good experience here. I certainly enjoyed my time with it and am glad I got to experience a game that tried something different, despite some minor flaws.