The Sojourn – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: Shifting Tides
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

The Sojourn – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Challenging puzzles, Great use of colors
Bad: Vague storytelling
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Sojourn might sound like the name of some obscure God from Scandinavian mythology, it is, in fact, an English word, all be it one you won’t hear dropped in casual conversation. A sojourn is a temporary stay, like a short visit to the countryside, and in fact a very fitting title for this game, which feels almost like a momentary journey into a magical world. Though the going won’t be as easy as you probably had hoped.

Story

While The Sojourn has a lot going for it, both aesthetically speaking and gameplay-wise, the story is kept rather vague. As you travel the ruins of an ancient city, you will get peeks and glances at what life was like before its destruction, but it clearly isn’t the main focus of the game. You will notice the story will be implied rather than explained, with you finding various statues from which a tale can be inferred. They depict two parents and their child, seemingly happy at first but as the child grows older it looks like fate has more in store for them as the child is tied together with the light and darkness that rule this world. Most of it is open for interpretation though, so don’t expect an eloquent storyline all spelled out for you.

Graphics

The Sojourn looks as magical as the word makes it sound. The city you walk through might be long destroyed, as parts of it slowly rebuild around you its true colors shine through. One of the gameplay elements concerns you shifting between the light and the dark realm and as you do this you will notice the color palette changing accordingly, with the light world being very warm in tone with lots of reds and yellows, while the dark world looks so much colder by changing into blues and purples instead. Overall this is just a very good looking game.

Sound

There are some games where you might feel an urge to loiter around for a bit to enjoy the music instead of actually playing because it’s just that relaxing to listen to. The Sojourn is definitely one of those games. The slow tracks might put you to sleep if you’re not careful, but its definitely a breath of fresh air, with an enchanting quality reminding us of games like Journey. There are also a few gameplay elements that rely on a timer, for which the game employs short high-pitched melodies to let you know how long you have to complete your task, which is definitely better than some games that use annoying ticker noises.

Gameplay

The Sojourn is a puzzle game set in the ruins of a mountainous desert city. You have to make your way from room to room by solving increasingly difficult puzzles that will open up the door to the next area. The thing that complicates this is that the places you travel are more than a little destroyed and haven’t survived the test of time as well as you had hoped, littered with broken bridges and walkways. Crossing these might seem impossible at first, but soon you will notice strange shadowy pedestals as well. Stepping into these will transport you to the realm of darkness, which might not look very different from the usual light realm at first, but in this realm these broken things are not quite as broken. However, you are only able to traverse in this dark world for a short while and moving will make this state wear off, so you will need to be quick.

Later on, you will start encountering various statues. Each statue has its own function and you will need to learn to use them if you want to solve the more advanced puzzles you’ll be facing moving forward. To use the statues you will need to ‘ring’ them in their awakened state though, something that can only be done while charged with darkness, so keep that in mind. One statue can be used as a kind of teleportation device, for example, making you instantly switch places with it. You can use this statue to hold down buttons, but also as a way of traveling large distances without using up your darkness charge. Another statue will be able to fix broken things, but only for a short period at a time.

The Sojourn has a steep learning curve, and there isn’t really a hint system available. If you’re stuck, you will have to either experiment until you figure something out, or hope that some other player online has left a walkthrough for you to peruse. Obviously, this is very much the point of puzzle games, to begin with, but it is worth mentioning as even players who have a lot of experience with puzzle games might find themselves at a loss once or twice here.

Conclusion

The Sojourn might not have the deepest, most emotionally enthralling storyline, but as a puzzle game, it definitely accomplishes its goals, being extremely refreshing in the way it challenges you to play with your environment. With the added bonus of looking and sounding great as well, this game is really a gem which lovers of the genre shouldn’t pass on.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
The Sojourn - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Jessica
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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