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What’s New in Indie Gaming: ‘Path of Giants’ and ‘Do Androids Pray’

Every week, Fanbase Press Contributor Phillip Kelly will take some time to play two brand-spanking-new or recent indie video game releases, all within an affordable range of $15 or less. Why? There are a lot of indie games out there, and if he can help you, curious reader, to parse through the selection, then by god, he’ll die content.

PATHS OF GIANTS
Path of Giants
is a puzzle game from Journey Bound Games, initially released on August 27, 2019, which just made its way to Nintendo Switch. Players control explorers Bern, Matchi, and Totchi (one blue, one green, and one yellow) as they scale the side of a mountain, looking for mystical treasure left behind by ancient giants. This is a puzzle game, so it’s up to you to put them where they need to go; they can hoist each other up, stand on matching colored switches, pull levers, and make lifts move until you lead them to the floating platforms that take them to their next puzzle and closer to glory.

The puzzles start off relatively simplly, but by level 9, I found myself having to backtrack every so often to re-think through my next move. Under story mode, the most story we get is a few instances of back and forth between the three of them, but really, that’s enough. There is a definite charm to this game, from the playfully serene music to the far-off landscapes that stretch far below the mountain that you’re moving up. The three characters’ designs remind me of Vivi the Black Mage from Final Fantasy 9, and the game has a sort of whimsical quality that reminds me of Pikmin, though only on the most surface of readings.

All in all, an enjoyable game with enough of complexity to make you think but not frustrate you to the point of throwing the controller. A nice palette cleanser from day-to-day goings on and good for most all ages.

Path of Giants
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS, macOS, Macintosh operating systems
Cost: $8.99
Was It Worth It? A resounding yes. Fun and yet challenging gameplay in a whimsical setting.
Developer: Journey Bound Games



CAN ANDROIDS PRAY
Can Androids Pray: Variation Blue is not even close to what I expected. It said something in the breakdown about it being a short story and that it was about mechs. The teaser capitalized on some amazing music and carefully timed and performed readings of the beatitudes (form scripture). Plus, that title that draws comparisons to Philip K. Dicks Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I was intrigued.

The game revolves around choices that you make in conversation with another wrecked female mech driver. How you respond will in some ways help to steer the conversation, but not to the degree that the story seems to change all that much.

Essentially, that’s it. Two wrecked mech pilots discussing philosophical and metaphysical realities while their lives tick away - exactly what you would talk about in a situation like that. It tangles with a few heightened ideas but ultimately fell short for me, because, although these subjects are of interest to me, the characters presented here were merely vessels for the ideas and not characters unto themselves.

That being said, this is a novel idea that intrigued me. The visuals were pretty in their simplicity and the music perfectly atmospheric, but it ultimately didn’t grip me like I was hoping. I didn’t see or feel the three elements - visuals, music, and dialogue - working in dramatic synchronicity, and when it came time to make a fateful decision for the character, because I didn’t feel like I was that character, ultimately the answers (or lack thereof, which is fine!) to the big questions didn’t matter to me nor did their fates. And I wasn’t intrigued enough to play through again to see if a different choice would have resolved the situation differently. Though with the choice(s) I made… I’m not really sure what happened in the end.

Can Androids Pray
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems
Cost: $6.99
Was It Worth It? Other than seeing what developers are experimenting with in terms of enhanced storytelling situations, this specific one was not really for me, but the good news is that it seems a lot of other people have liked it and the cost is not bad.
Developers: Xalavier Nelson Jr., Apriori Digital Ltd, Natalie Clayton
Publishers: Xalavier Nelson Jr., Natalie Clayton, aPriori Digital



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