“Fool of a Took! This is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party. Throw yourself in next time, and then you will be no further nuisance.” While one of my favorite quotes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, we’re talking about a different “Peregrin” – not a hairy-toed hobbit, but an unexpected journey by Green Man Gaming. This is our Peregrin review.
Peregrin puts you in the shoes of Abi, a young girl with a special gift and a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Like many before her that possessed potential, Abi is sent by her enclave into a wasteland called The Divide in order to discover what she can about the destruction of her world and how to restore it. There’s just one problem: no one that they have ever sent out has returned, including Isaac – someone very special to Abi.
From a gameplay standpoint, Peregrin plays like it’s advertised: as a story-driven, puzzle-solving game. Abi’s “special gift” is a sort of animal telepathy which allows her to control animals that she meets in The Divide – with some limitations. Abi must be within proximity of activated totems in order for her ability to work.
There are three main types of controllable creatures that you will encounter; each with their own usefulness in solving different types of puzzles. For example, the troll can lift heavy objects, the goat-yak can headbutt stuff, and the frog-type thing can hit switches with its tongue and transport items in its mouth.
It’s a simple structure, but I don’t mind it. I never felt like the puzzle mechanics or Abi’s ability got in the way of the gameplay. Even as the difficulty of the puzzles scaled, I never felt like there was a moment where they became too unmanageable. There were some very creative moments in puzzle solving possibilities – enough to make me verbally exclaim how clever the mechanics of the puzzle were!
Peregrin also has a combat element. Unfortunately, it felt a little under developed or out of place. On occasion, you would encounter Guardians – misshapen, vengeful humanoids that occupied The Divide. During these encounters, you have a quick second to decide which enemy you are going to charge with your bo staff or if you are going to attempt to mind-control one of them to fight against their compatriots. Initially, the idea is neat – semi-turn based combat with mind-control, but I found moments where the combat just didn’t feel like it fit. While Abi is billed by other characters in the story as being stronger than any other survivor that they’ve sent into The Divide, these Guardians LIVE here. In this moment, Abi’s ability acts as a MacGuffin – a handy device that “just so happens” to drive the narrative forward. (Sorry, Abs, not buying it…)
The game plays about 4- 5 hours, but it’s a worthwhile 4 – 5 hours of gameplay. Between the puzzles, the scenery, and the storytelling, I found myself engaged the entire time I played. There were solid moments of pacing where completing a puzzle lead to a narrative development or an item that I needed for another puzzle.
Speaking of narrative pacing, the story was expertly voice-acted with narrative pieces either by a narrator and a comms pack conversation between Abi and members of her enclave. This added a relational dimension to our lone adventurer which I really enjoyed. However, I did wish that the secondary character was developed a little better. While the narration gave me some reasons to care about Abi, the others were forgettable… and I think I might have missed a very important narrative piece because I still don’t know who exactly Isaac is and why Abi should care for him more than her cheese grater. Aside from some of the missteps with character development, the story itself is pretty intriguing. So much so that I would love to sit down with the story writers to ask some deeper questions.
All in all, Peregrin is well worth a play through if you like a moderately paced puzzler. This game really gives you a chance to appreciate the brushstroke-style scenery and the puzzle design. With an expertly told story and an interesting protagonist, Peregrin finds itself a place as a memorable indie gem.
Final Score – 7.5/10
- Smart puzzle mechanics
- Solid pacing
- Excellent voice acting
- Superb Art Style
- Disjoined combat
- Weak supporting characters
- Droning soundtrack