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The Sojourn review for Xbox One, PS4


Platform: Xbox One
Also on: PC, PS4
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Developer: Shifting Tides
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

The Sojourn’s biggest problem is that it’s coming out in 2019, instead of, say, 2014 or 2015. If it had come out much earlier in this decade, it would’ve been hailed as a fantastic first-person puzzler, a game that challenged your reasoning and spatial abilities, while looking pretty nice in the process.

But now, in 2019? It’s all too easy to lump it in with Portal, or The Witness, or The Talos Principle, or The Spectrum Retreat, or QUBE, or any of the seemingly infinite number of other nice-looking games that challenge your brain.

I’d like to say that this lumping in is unfair, and that The Sojourn is secretly one of the best examples of the genre I’ve come across, but that would be a lie. You wander through level after level of playing around with dark and light colours (though in this case, those colours are the world around you, rather than something controlled by a glove or a gun), and you unlock door after door. At this point in the genre’s life, there’s nothing here that will surprise you.

It will challenge you, though. The Sojourn may not be very original, but it is very hard. I was looking up walkthroughs on YouTube pretty early on, and there are several levels that I wouldn’t have finished if other people hadn’t done it already — and, for that matter, several more than still took me several tries even after seeing how it was done. There’s a lot of placing statues in just the right place so that you can open up gates and zip from one spot in a level to the next, and it requires quite a bit of careful thinking. Even by the genre’s occasionally mind-bending challenges, The Sojourn is one of the harder games I’ve come across — yet, at the same time, it never seems unfair. There’s no weird internal logic to master here, just very tough puzzles.

It’s also very nice to look at. Again, the crumbling ruins and gorgeous landscapes aren’t anything new, but they still fit in with the thoughtful, semi-profound vibe for which The Sojourn aims.

But again, there’s nothing here that feels all that new. At best, it feels like a well-made rehashing of much of what’s come before it, with a slightly harder difficulty level. There’s nothing wrong with that, to be sure, but it makes it hard to recommend The Sojourn unless you’ve exhausted most other possibilities of the genre already.

Iceberg Interactive provided us with a The Sojourn Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: B-