User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 51
  2. Negative: 5 out of 51

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  1. Nov 23, 2020
    5
    Honestly, a big letdown. I really enjoyed Abzu, and I'm generally a fan of this style of game, but The Pathless shoots itself in the foot over and over.

    Running around the world, exploring and solving puzzles and such, is great fun. It's peaceful, meditative, but not without challenge- some of the puzzles can be very tricky, but never to the point where I had to look up a solution or
    Honestly, a big letdown. I really enjoyed Abzu, and I'm generally a fan of this style of game, but The Pathless shoots itself in the foot over and over.

    Running around the world, exploring and solving puzzles and such, is great fun. It's peaceful, meditative, but not without challenge- some of the puzzles can be very tricky, but never to the point where I had to look up a solution or anything.

    Except... sometimes the mechanics they rely on just fail. There's no aiming- the arrows just fly on their own -which means you are utterly at the mercy of the game's ability to guess what you wanted, especially when it comes to shooting arrows through multiple targets, such has rings or torches. I often found that if I stood even a little bit too close to the first target, the arrow would careen off into space wildly. "Too close" seems to range from "right up against it" to "anywhere within ten feet or so" depending on the exact puzzle. It's a nuisance the first few times, and gradually grows more and more irritating as the game asks you to make increasingly complex shots.

    Then there are the stealth sequences, which would be quite easy and simple were it not for the enemy's infuriating tendency to walk directly on top of you for no reason. I once failed one of these sequences the instant it began because the boss spawned on top of me. I came to dread these encounters- which the game will force upon you at least once per region -because my ability to succeed or fail came down to sheer chance.

    But the true disappointment is the boss fights. The game's mechanics are utterly unsuited to the type of fights they throw you into. Most fights deprive you of your ability to run (due to there being no way to recharge your spirit gauge) and rely on banal pattern memorization. But the combat is so illegible and meaningless, and the openings where you can actually fire a shot are so blink-and-you-miss-it short, that each fight (beyond the first, which was relatively tame) generally consists of you being batted around, swatted out of the arena repeatedly, and generally bullied by a flame beast until you figure out exactly what the game has in mind.

    Once you do reach that point, the tedium sets in, because the game will want you to go through that pattern a dozen or so times before it will let you proceed. The battles go from overwhelming to yawn-inducing in that same instant.

    Worse still, the battles don't have any illusion of danger or drama. The consequence for being hit too many times in a row is to be flung out of the arena, which then requires you to walk five feet or so and hop over a railing to restart that phase of the fight. It's amazing that a game with no meaningful fail state can still manage to be brutally unforgiving.

    The problem with The Pathless, in the end, is that it wants too badly to be a Real Game. It's like someone made a very good game, then realized they hadn't ticked the boxes for "stealth elements" and "pulse-pounding boss fights" and then not only shoehorned them in, but made them a central part of the game. The rest of the experience rejects them like a mismatched organ transplant.

    The ultimate effect of all this is to wear away your patience until you realize, ultimately, that the game is actually quite vapid. It makes a big show of being Very Spiritual, but actually has nothing at all to say. Its message winds up being, "There is no one path to the truth," a sentiment utterly devoid of context or salience even within the story.

    I did finish the game, because it's short and I felt like I ought to, and it's not so bad that I had to give up on it in distaste- which is why I give it a 5, I suppose. But this is a game that is so busy undercutting its virtues that I just can't possibly recommend it in good faith.
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  2. Nov 23, 2020
    5
    Definitely not my thing.
    The gimmick of shot the bow for dash is just annoying.
    And you can not die to bosses, so whats the point of a having boss?
    Story is regular, super cliché
  3. Jun 26, 2021
    6
    The Pathless has received near-universal critical acclaim and it's not hard to see why from the premise; it comes from an indie-darling perspective, touting similar graphics and game mechanics to highly regarded titles such as Journey, Gris and Abzu.

    So why am I lamenting rather than lauding its achievements? I'll explain below. As mentioned, the graphics of The Pathless immediately
    The Pathless has received near-universal critical acclaim and it's not hard to see why from the premise; it comes from an indie-darling perspective, touting similar graphics and game mechanics to highly regarded titles such as Journey, Gris and Abzu.

    So why am I lamenting rather than lauding its achievements? I'll explain below.

    As mentioned, the graphics of The Pathless immediately drew my thoughts back to Journey. Generally nothing overly complex, but smooth and fluid graphics that are similar to cell-shading make for a pleasant first impression. My qualm with these graphics is that I don't think they do the game enough justice, especially in the opening hours where everything is dark and morose. When boss battles commence the graphics show their true colours and this is quite a sight but also falls into being a bit one-dimensional once you see the patterns and style.

    The gameplay also leaves a nice first impression but irritated me the longer I played. Shooting the crystals to refill the energy bar can make for skilled traversal, but this fundamental mechanic became very tiring for me and repetitive to the extreme. From what I played, the rest of the game is similarly protracted. I found it very arduous that the game basically lays its progression out before you early on, in that I could see three elongated puzzles and boss fights ahead. I played until after the first boss fight and had had enough of the gameplay because it felt like the path ahead was predictable and monotonous, as well as feeling like I've already experienced the majority of what the game has to offer. Of course I could be wrong, but the game didn't offer anything to show me otherwise.

    The story of The Pathless is told via the cliche of picking up dribs and drabs from what are essentially diaries as you explore. You do meet the Godslayer early in the game and I found that rather compelling, and I also don't mind the diary trope as it allows the player to invest in the story at their leisure. However, similar to the gameplay, I didn't find much encouragement to persevere through the irksome puzzles to learn the conclusion, which I'm guessing involves defeating Godslayer and purifying all the land anyway.

    Overall, The Pathless is a critically-acclaimed indie darling that just doesn't do it for me. The concept and mechanics work great in theory, but in practice I didn't enjoy a lot of the game. Pathless seems to be inspired by Journey and Gris but misses the crucial lessons from these games, as Gris also dragged on a bit too long and Journey diversified the landscape and didn't have the irritating traversal mechanic. The Pathless may be the game for you, but it's not the game for me.
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  4. Dec 3, 2021
    7
    This game left me with mixed feelings.
    Not Bad atmosphere and spirit of a fairy tale.
    But not very interesting gameplay. Pros: Interesting adventure. Not very long, will not have time to get bored. Not difficult and sometimes interesting puzzles. Cons: not interesting to explore the world, there is no incentive for this. Not very interesting and monotonous game mechanics. And the main
    This game left me with mixed feelings.
    Not Bad atmosphere and spirit of a fairy tale.
    But not very interesting gameplay.
    Pros: Interesting adventure. Not very long, will not have time to get bored. Not difficult and sometimes interesting puzzles.
    Cons: not interesting to explore the world, there is no incentive for this. Not very interesting and monotonous game mechanics. And the main disadvantage: annoying mechanics when you need to hide from a monster, look for a bird and clean it.
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  5. Jan 28, 2021
    5
    The Pathless is a game I really wanted to enjoy, especially as I was getting huge ICO and Shadow of the Colossus vibes off it. It has fairly unique movement and a visual style that looks a lot like Samurai Jack but with a Mongolian twist. Sadly the game is really short and lacks in mostly all departments. Not much variety to locations and puzzles. The same objectives and boringThe Pathless is a game I really wanted to enjoy, especially as I was getting huge ICO and Shadow of the Colossus vibes off it. It has fairly unique movement and a visual style that looks a lot like Samurai Jack but with a Mongolian twist. Sadly the game is really short and lacks in mostly all departments. Not much variety to locations and puzzles. The same objectives and boring exploration. The only thing holding my attention was the adorable Eagle buddy who follows you around and some really epic boss fights that have unique stages, phases and gimmicks to them. The music is really good and was the only thing staving off the boredom with the endless monotony of repetitive exploration and puzzle solving. Watch my review here to see exactly what I thought about the game:
    https://youtu.be/Cnw5VYa_Pl8
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  6. Nov 15, 2020
    7
    There's a lot to love here. The core gameplay is incredibly impressive, the sound and art are impeccable, and the puzzles just genuinely feel good. Think Journey meets Shadow of the Colossus. Where the game comes up short (sometimes VERY short) is in its combat and endgame content. Boss encounters and battles feel very plain, kinda wonky, and get repetitive almost immediately. Compared toThere's a lot to love here. The core gameplay is incredibly impressive, the sound and art are impeccable, and the puzzles just genuinely feel good. Think Journey meets Shadow of the Colossus. Where the game comes up short (sometimes VERY short) is in its combat and endgame content. Boss encounters and battles feel very plain, kinda wonky, and get repetitive almost immediately. Compared to the core gameplay, the boss battles and scripted encounters are so bad that they feel like parts of a different game. I'd have gotten past it without much issue, but the game loses a lot of steam in its final hours. The final levels are really thin on content, and the final encounter with the boss is beyond unsatisfying.
    Really, the thing this game needed were boss battles which actually incorporated the core gameplay. Most of the game is thrillingly "pathless" but the boss battles are scripted to hell, and as unsatisfying as the core game is satisfying. On top of that, each of the bosses is functionally the same. And, of course, a final level that didn't feel so disappointingly empty would have been nice. But with all of that said, it's a good game, with the spark of greatness flickering inside.
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  7. Dec 5, 2021
    7
    Overall - 7.75/10

    + Beautiful art style and world
    + OST
    + Characters
    + Exploration was fun and never felt lost, though the puzzles were just alright

    Gameplay was decent, wished combat mechanics were better

    Enjoyment - 7.5/10
  8. Apr 24, 2021
    7
    I thought it was a good game. The art style is beautiful and moving your character just feels nice and responsive. I have a couple of negatives tho and the first one being that the jump button in this game feels very weird and destroys the flow of movement which is a very big part of this game, controlling your character mid air without the bird is really unresponsive and the overall gameI thought it was a good game. The art style is beautiful and moving your character just feels nice and responsive. I have a couple of negatives tho and the first one being that the jump button in this game feels very weird and destroys the flow of movement which is a very big part of this game, controlling your character mid air without the bird is really unresponsive and the overall game design I feel made it tedious to play. The game is pretty much "kill these 3 bosses in separate areas and you have to do the exact same thing over and over again to fight each boss and after you defeated all the 3 bosses, you move on to the big bad guy" and that kind of design just made it unbearable to play for that long and also your movement doesn't change a lot and the only major change in movement that the game gives is the bird and that's about it Expand

Awards & Rankings

Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. CD-Action
    Jun 9, 2021
    90
    At first, The Pathless seems like many other games due to its bland story. However, give it a chance and it will shine like a diamond in other aspects. The developers of Abzu created a truly compelling world, where exploration and satisfying boss battles are interlaced with ingenious puzzles. Even the simplest activities are engaging and fun. You need to play it. [01/2021, p.40]
  2. Dec 9, 2020
    80
    Except for poor stealth sequences, The Pathless is a fascinating and enjoyable experience that strikes the perfect balance between exploration, puzzle solving and combat.
  3. Nov 29, 2020
    80
    The Pathless suffers from several things: repetitive puzzles, lack of depth in terms of abilities, complete absence of mini-map and fast-travel, some boring sections, and rather short length. But at the same time this game has a rather unique charm to it, which is a good enough reason to actually return to it again and again.