The last two years have seen an incredible surge in mobile gaming. Personally I have played more games on my iPhone, than any other gaming device especially since the launch of Apple Arcade. Where technology giant Apple leads, our household is sure to shamelessly follow so when they also announced Tip Works (Publisher Giant Networks) Pascal’s Wager at the 2019 Apple iPhone 11 keynote I got excited. As excited as I am right now to share our Pascal’s Wager review!
Pascal’s Wager is an argument in philosophy presented by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell). Historically, Pascal’s wager was groundbreaking because it charted new territory in probability theory with a wager that uses the following logic
- God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives
- A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up
- You must wager (it is not optional)
- Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing
I wanted to share this excerpt because I didn’t know what Pascal’s Wager was outside of this game until I mentioned I was playing it and was promptly given information that made me search for more.
Armed with this knowledge and coming off a binge-watching frenzy of the Netflix series, “The Witcher” the night before I first logged in. I was enthralled at the very first cut scene in a horse carriage which immediately sets the tone of the game. Mystery cloaked in a sense of ominous doom similar to what I had just indulged in on my television. Getting in my head, looking for the reason why this game was named after 17th-century philosophy I was looking for blatant references. As you progress through, you cannot help but realize after a time that the choices you make feel like a flip of a coin because you already know you’re going to die but you are going to go anyway and keep going until you conquer. You are wagering on your ability to win the first time, every time and if not come out the victor regardless.
That is the beauty of a “souls-like” game which Pascal’s Wager is, it tests your patience and skill from the very first boss fight and I love it because it fits in the palm of my hand! Now I can get frustrated, elated, walk it all off, then get straight back to it no matter where I am – which is just insane if you really think about it.
What also stood out is I am obsessive about customization in games and this isn’t what Pascal’s Wager is about. It made me chuckle also referring to the Witcher earlier, as I started as Terrance who reminded me of Geralt from the Witcher game series. What came as a pleasant surprise though was you get to choose other lead characters as the story progresses which includes Viola, Norwood, and Benita. To be completely honest I didn’t really think about customization for a few days – that’s how immersive you get in Pascal’s Wager which is nothing short of a miracle.
The plot (which I won’t spoil,) isn’t new and the voice acting didn’t always flow smoothly breaking my immersion momentarily but frankly, all I wanted to do was conquer so let’s get to the game-play and this title as a mobile game. How easy is it to play and control?
With the lack of souls-like game experience I mentioned earlier I didn’t expect to do well for a while regardless of the platform. Simply put – I wasn’t playing this combat-heavy game comparing it to other platforms. What was at the top of my “does it do this” list was whether I enjoyed playing it on mobile at all and again I was pleasantly surprised for the most part but dodge definitely needs to be altered. That being said, without dodge I may as well just stand still and tap dance while enemy mobs use me as a dance floor but I kept going and adapted over time especially since I died and would re-spawn as another character which came in handy. I learned the hard way also that if I used all the characters I had to respawn I would lose finger bones which is this game’s version of souls/currency you can purchase items from the vendor with.
I couldn’t tell you which character is my favorite as they are all so different and compelling for their own reasons which again is a marvel because I’m usually driven by preferences – I just want to see and experience it all! Not many games ignite that level of curiosity in me these days, especially on mobile. Actually Benita must be the best-dressed nun in history so maybe that is enough reason to make her my favorite character? Seriously though, if you add how smooth the leveling system is and the fact you can revisit any level to tackle any side missions you may have missed. Plus the clean UI that means you have less clutter and how you can pair an Xbox controller with your phone to play if you need to – all these quality of life details make any concerns minute making Pascal’s Wager a strong contender to being one of the most enjoyable combat-heavy mobile gaming experiences ever.
Note: A code was provided by PR on iOS for the purposes of this review.