Pavilion – A Modern M.C. Escher Painting in the Palm of Your Hand

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Pavilion is marvelous, and I'd be neglect in my review to delay even a moment to convey this to you. Visiontrick's latest work is a modern Myst crossed with ICO that nestles in the palm of your hand for one of the most natural puzzle solving experiences since Portal.

Despite limiting your inputs to merely toggling the world and slight inventory management, Pavilion conveys you along a series of beautifully rendered puzzles in an abstract world of elegant decay. If you were a fan of the art in Supergiant’s Bastion, then you are in for a real treat. The isometric camera angle is used to full effect, with puzzles often relying on careful manipulation of the environment to guide the game’s protagonist.

And yes, you read that right – you guide the protagonist, but do not control him. Visiontrick has opted for what they call a “4th-person” perspective, and while that mostly means nudging the man where he needs to go, it works very effectively.  It’s sort of like guiding a pet, with them not fully appreciating your intentions, but following along as best they can.

This can be to your benefit or detriment, as the hero will automatically navigate the world, and it’s up to you to ensure he times himself properly. Thankfully, the puzzles are forgiving, yet still necessitate using some brain cells rather than just spamming items at various objects until something works. All the while, the world around you is a living, breathing space with rain falls and burning pyres enlivening what could have been a static 2.5D space.

Every inch of the audioscape is just as lively, with humming tones and whispering woodwinds against riveting foli work. This isn’t a game with stock audio assets or a phoned in score, but a genuine auditory experience. The effort is evident and is fantastic.[sc name=”quote” text=”the world around you is a living, breathing space with rain falls and burning pyres enlivening what could have been a static 2.5D space”]

The only aspect that may be a turn off to some is that Pavilion doesn’t do anything audibly to hold your hand. There’s no obvious tutorials, though the game subtly teaches you its various mechanics. The story is also presented wordlessly, left up to your interpretations.

If you love dissecting minute details, then this is perfect for you. If you don’t, then Pavilion is going to be a lot of abstract nonsense with no real meaning to you. It’s a game where you make the experience for yourself, in step with Visiontrick’s guiding hand.

Pavilion is what most puzzle games hope to be. It’s a memorable journey and should be held alongside the likes of Monument Valley. A must have for iOS gamers looking for something cerebral and pleasing.

[review pros=”Great puzzles, gorgeous visuals, beautiful sound design, and smooth controls.” cons=”Lack of handholding and spoken narrative may be disappointing for some.” score=9.5]

[appbox appstore id1088111993]

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