The Pedestrian Review
Initially released 2020 on Windows/Linux/macOS The Pedestrian had safely crossed the road to Xbox One and Series S/X platforms this month. Launching on GamePass this very month (January 2022) it’s time to look both ways and take a look at this stylish puzzle platformer.
You play as a 2D stick person reminiscent of male and female lavatory signs. The character is drawn/brought to life on a variety of surfaces such as a white board, road sign or even on some blueprints. The play area in each section of the game is usually small squares or rectangles with line drawings of obstacles you have to connect to create a pathway that leads towards a door, exit or ladder.
Puzzle elements are pretty simple and follow the basic rules of each door/ladder/exit can be used provided you connect each “puzzle piece” in the correct way. This goes from basic join the two sections all the way to Mensa difficulty mental gymnastics to reach the exits.
The way the puzzles work is at the press of a button the camera pulls back allowing the player to see the other signs and the elements within the area that can be rearranged and joined together to reach the exit. For example a ladder needs joined to the other half or a door won’t open unless joined to an adjacent door. You will find yourself constantly analysing the available signs to find the route while keeping tabs on the various new mechanics that get thrown your way at a steady pace.
Making a mistake in your connections will lead to a puzzle reset and having to try a new approach. Later in the game green liquid can be used to freeze a sections state so the progress will not be reset when changes to pathways are made.
The Pedestrian really starts to shine when manipulation of the 3D world around the puzzle areas is required. Usually a ladder half in one piece will connect to another allowing the player to climb up or down to progress, however in later stages this gets a shake up. When the 3D environment objects begin to prevent this from happening, you really need to think outside the box and alter the outside world to your needs.
Along the way the various 3D backgrounds will change ranging from construction site to a university (which has a banger of a tune for the stage) and seamlessly wraps you into the simple yet challenging puzzle gameplay at its core.
The soundtrack itself is no slouch and you will find your head bobbing along to its jazzy beats, the soundscapes created seem to be expertly hand picked here to match the tone of each stage and never once feel repetitive or out of place.
Your journey with the pedestrian from start to its mind boggling end scene (seriously, I still am up for debate on its meaning) is a beautifully crafted adventure brought to us by the folks at Skookum Arts. Whilst the total game time will vary by user, if you don’t get horrendously stuck at some of the puzzles it can easily be completed in one decent session.
If the humdrum of service games or 100 + hour RPGs have got you putting the controller down in recent times, The Pedestrian is the reason to pick it back up once more.
A pleasant surprise in the sometimes mixed bag of puzzle games we see churned out time and time again. The Pedestrian strolls up cool as a cucumber with a hint of jazz and takes you on a journey worthy of the space on your hard drive.
Easy to pick up and learn difficult to master is the old expression and it’s evident Skookum Arts used it expertly as their mantra when creating The Pedestrian.
Ali - 42 Level One