The Sojourn Review – Indie Insights

Now I like my puzzle games and while others can take or leave them, they are one of my favourite genres, particularly if I’m looking for some downtime and quiet contemplation.  I usually play them in little chunks or bite sizes pieces, tackling section by section and with little rush to get things all wrapped up to see the end credits roll. A good puzzler will see me take my time while pulling things together with care and at a steady pace.  The Sejourn sees me taking a similar approach as I tackle the almost linear nature of the game and its puzzles by way of a piecemeal process.  

These puzzles all within their own self contained areas tell us the tale of a child by way of statues as he grows and ages with you also seeing people within his life who’ve left a lasting impression. Early on these puzzles are fairly rudimentary and act as a type of tutorial to get you up to speed with the challenges and mental gymnastics required to move from one area to the next. 

Each area or room if you so like and their puzzles see you move between and manipulate light and shadows and by doing so, you unravel the solution and make your exit forwards.  Each room is beautifully created with the colour scheme reminding me very much of Rime from a the spring of 2017. In what’s one of the most impressive world building mechanic I’ve seen in any puzzler, the levels come together piece by peace with the shapes and surfaces gracefully combining to build the physical in game world. 

Activating the before mentioned statues is highly satisfying. Having done so you see a ripple move across the world in what looks similar to those you see when skimming a stone across a waters surface. It’s all rather peaceful, almost meditative, even when you’re getting to grips with the solutions at hand in what at times need some fine cognitive reasoning and dare I say it, the odd bit of luck via trial and error.

Having seen and played The Sejourn earlier in the year and then again at the Gamescom just gone, I went into this play through already knowing how the puzzle sections progress. In what reminds me of a Link to the Past, you move between light and darkness by way of statues as you swap your positions within the map. You’ve seen much of what’s at play here before although The Sejourn adds a note of depth and subtly in how these mechanics have been implemented. 

After the initial tutorial type sections, the difficulty quickly ramps up and while there are on occasions a step backward in needing to engage the brain, it’s a game that’s had me thinking on the solutions more than is usual. In places it’s tempting to go down the YouTube approach although in these situations, a little break away to come back to it with fresh eyes seems to help. In a fine step change, later puzzles have split solutions which means you can if you so desire try to solve a more difficult part of the puzzle once you have completed the first part.  The second parts are all optional although much of the fun in besting the game comes from these rather than the base solution. 

As for the story, well to be brutally honest it doesn’t have much to say and is rather superficial. The Sejourn would have been much the same experience with the story stripped away with it in places being close like the recent Blasphemous to overstepping the line into light pretension.

The Sojourn isn’t going to redefine the puzzle genre. All we see here we’ve seen before in some shape or fashion. That said, what The Sejourn does do so well is combine these elements into an enjoyable, if at times hard game I enjoyed over a good number of play sessions and would recommend to any puzzle fan looking for in what is in places, a really tough challenge.

Notes:

  • Release Date: 20th September 2019
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One Home Computer via Epic
  • Tested and Reviewed on the Xbox One with a copy brought from the Microsoft Store Front.

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