Peregrin is a tale of human flaws and sacrifice wrapped up in a pretty little puzzle game. In Peregrin you’re tasked with saving what’s left of humanity from the ongoing wrath of once vengeful Gods. You play as Abi and you must seek atonement for the sins of your ancestors to restore the remainder of human society to their former glory.
I won’t go too much into the story of the game in this review because I enjoyed discovering it as I went – it was my main motivation for rushing through the final scenes of the game.
The storytelling for the most part is fantastic. You learn about this historic civilisation (and the part you play in atoning for their mistakes) through a combination of crackling intercom calls and stone monoliths that recall the mistakes of that civilisation. These monoliths also handily mark your progress through the game. The conversations between you and your village elder or father over this intercom are fully voiced. These conversations, alongside the fully voiced narration, bring the story to life – even if the voice acting can be a little janky at times. It was never so bad to pull me out of the experience once I started though. The set up amplifies the feeling that this is Abi’s journey, and Abi’s alone as through the entire game you won’t ever meet another human face to face.
While the storytelling is fantastic and the story itself is very compelling, neither of these aspects of the game are without fault. Without spoiling too much the game is rooted in magical and mystical roots that are is turned on their head towards the end of the game. I absolutely don’t have a problem with that because it was a pleasing little twist and addressed the big aspects of the game’s lore well but if you’re doing that you must address all of it.
There were parts of the story that weren’t addressed by the final explanation of the plot and that left me wondering (and not in a good way). It’s a shame because the story is powerful; it’s essentially a reminder of what human greed and competition can do to society. Luckily, the moral of the story, and the way in which it’s told, is touching enough that you can probably overlook the slight issues it has towards the end of the game.
For a puzzle game, the puzzles won’t give you much of a problem here. There are two types of puzzle, both of which revolve around Abi’s ability to possess the minds of other creatures. In the first type, you control different benevolent creatures who can affect the environment in different ways. A ram can knock objects out of the way or lower bridges, a lizard can move items around by swallowing them and spitting them elsewhere and trolls can lift heavy objects to other locations.
You must possess these creatures in the correct sequence to navigate your way through the Divide (the ruins of a previous civilisation). The other type of puzzle is combat related. Monsters called Guardians guard the way through the ruins and like the other puzzle type, you must possess them to get through. The main difference is that you must cause them to fight each other in the right sequence to defeat them all.
I got the impression that the puzzles were included in this story just to ‘gamify’ the experience. Did I enjoy them? Yeah, they were okay but it’s not what kept me playing. It was the story that kept pulling me on. I think the developers knew that was the main reason for playing the game because none of the puzzles were difficult enough to cause any issues for me or stall me in any way. Towards the end of the game I found myself racing through them with ease just to get to the next part of the story faster.
The game is presented beautifully. All of the elements from its dreary aesthetic with splashes of colours to the haunting music that evokes feelings of desperation and loneliness, you can absolutely tell that time was spent making sure these things work. Even the weary voice of the narrator imparts a feeling of tiredness with a long process that Abi is just the most recent in a long line to try and complete.
Abi herself is mostly seen as a slightly ethereal type figure who when you move her across the environments appears to float rather than run or walk. There were a few issues when this presentation got in the way of the actual game (think losing your mouse pointer in amongst vicious snow storms) but mostly the game is just really polished and a pleasure to play.
It’s hard not to recommend Peregrin. Sure it has a few minor issues with its plot towards the end but this barely even dents the impact it will have on you. All that wonderful story wrapped up in a gorgeous package – what’s not to love?