Peregrin represents the debut effort from London studio Domino Digital. A cut-price adventure puzzler, Peregrin puts you in the shoes of a young female pilgrim looking to restore a lost land that has been torn asunder by the wrath of vengeful gods. With narrative stylings that are redolent of games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Peregrin’s solitary tale is one of loss and loneliness. While its story is quite powerful and is enjoyable in and of itself, the puzzle and combat ends up being functional but far too easy to really push the old grey matter.
The word peregrin is derived from the Latin meaning wanderer or foreigner, which is quite fitting for our young protagonist Abi. Setting out from her homelands, it’s Abi’s duty to fulfil an ancient prophecy and do her part to heal the vast wastelands left behind after a calamity known as the god-war ravaged the planet. Abi’s people regularly nominate the strongest among them to make the perilous journey across the wasteland (known as the divide) to offer atonement to the gods who were spurned by their previous tenants and promptly rained fiery hell from above. All is not as it seems though, and as Abi uncovers the secrets of the dead civilisation and their ruined world she’ll learn of their fate and ultimately the harsh lessons their demise was supposed to teach them.
Peregrin’s story reveals itself relatively slowly, but the final moments manage to drive all of the elements home with an interesting perspective shift that recolours the events that led up to that point. There is one aspect of the ending that casts some confusion as to Abi’s actual fate that I was slightly dissatisfied by, but perhaps this is the point. Accompanying the story, the muted visuals and haunting score work well together to paint the picture of a lost world haunted by the ghosts of its calamitous past. The game also makes use of an isometric view with the camera panned out fairly far, making Abi suitably tiny against the harsh and menacing backdrop of the divide. All in all, the solid adventure story and interesting setting definitely spurred me on, but all too often it felt like the actual gameplay seemed to be just treading water.
There’s not much meat to how Peregrin plays, and throughout the five or so hours it takes to complete the game you’ll find yourself completing very similar tasks in order to progress. Although it fancies itself a puzzle game, the puzzles are more like gentle road blocks than cerebral workouts. You can possess three different types of creatures who have different abilities (like picking up heavy objects, flicking switches from afar or ramming things to open up pathways), but these abilities rarely have to be combined in clever ways to progress, and the overly simple puzzles generally feel like busy work that gets in the way of experiencing the story.
There is a smattering of combat that also tries its hand at introducing more puzzle elements, but like the rest of the gameplay elements it’s a bit of a cakewalk. Essentially you are able to possess hostile creatures and make them fight one another, and in some instances you must choose the right order in which to possess them lest they overwhelm you. There are a few enemy types that you’ll have to become familiar with in order to overcome your enemies, but even with these variations it’s still easier than forgetting to vote in a local election and having your license suspended as a result (twice damn it).
Getting others to do your dirty work
Crucibles filled with molten metal were built to last obviously
All in all, the solid adventure story and interesting setting definitely spurred me on, but all too often it felt like the actual gameplay seemed to be just treading water
Peregrin is a fun little indie adventure game that does a great job of spinning an interesting tale in a well realised setting. But while I appreciate that not all puzzle games have to be difficult to be enjoyed, Peregrin too often flirts with gameplay that just goes through the motions. Still, at the decent price of about $20 AUD, there are far worse ways to spend your time if you’re looking for a break from the AAA rat race.