The Pillar: Puzzle Escape from Paper Bunker was just released for consoles, and it’s a relaxing puzzle adventure released at a budget price point. We checked it out on a PS4 – should you play it too?
The console versions of The Pillar are being published by Eastasiasoft, who have been quite prolific over the past year both with original titles and with ports of lesser known indie gems. The Pillar: Puzzle is part of that latter category, as it initially had its debut on mobile devices before being converted into a PC game last year.
As you can infer from the (full) title, there’s an escape room element to The Pillar, but it’s much more relaxing than your average time limit stress-invoking escape room, digital or real. Instead, it’s a lot like more relaxing experiences like The Sojourn or Myst, with influences from The Witness as well.
The (short) campaign takes place in a colorful sci-fi/fantasy world that’s relatively low on visual detail (this did start as a mobile title), but provides a nice and serene backdrop to the puzzles you’re about to face. There’s no real narrative to drive the game forward either, which revolves entirely around puzzles of various designs. Many are logic puzzles, some rely on memorization, and every now and then you’ll find yourself experimenting and progressing through trial and error, perhaps finding clues while you move about the area you’re in.
You’re scored for your performance in each room, so there’s an incentive to go back and do better – especially if you enjoy grabbing some of the associated trophies. You don’t need to do this to complete the game, which shouldn’t be too troubling for puzzle game fanatics. What’s nice is that a lot of games have randomly generated elements to them as well, which ensured that no two playthroughs are identical. The core concept behind each puzzle stays the same though, so even if you have to resort to a walkthrough you’ll still have to understand the core concept rather than just copying the solution – which is nice gameplay design.
The Pillar: Puzzle Escape strays true to its mobile origins in how it almost feels like a casual puzzle game – though that’s also reflected in a rather bare bones approach to the audiovisual presentation. There not a whole lot going on in the world you’re in, there’s little backdrop to speak of, and the besides the higher resolution it feels like a game from two generations ago. That certainly doesn’t matter in terms of the puzzle design and mechanics, but with alternatives like The Sojourn and The Witness also on the PS4 this is a budget alternative for those looking for something a bit simpler.