Pillar (MichaelArts): Demo Review

While most of the demos I had played recently have been pretty good, there is one in particular that I was grateful I hadn’t paid any actual money for.  This would be a demo I played for a game called Pillar.  Haven’t heard of it?  Well, no wonder, because if you try to look it up, more than likely you’ll be presented with a list of games with similar names, including a game called…The Pillar (emphasis on “the”).  To distinguish this from other games with similar titles, this is the Pillar game developed by a guy named Michael Hicks.

Pillar is described as a “collection of minigames”, though it would be more accurate to describe them as puzzles.  More specifically, these are puzzles that are intended to represent various personality traits.  The three accessible in the demo were giving, capable, and distant.  Naturally, the first thing I noticed were the graphics, which are described as “hand-painted”.  While they look quite pretty in the screens before the main game starts, they were not particularly impressive in the game itself.  (To compare, I have provided a screenshot for a game called Seasons After Fall, whose hand-painted graphics are far more beautiful.)

Screenshot by the Duck of Indeed

The second thing that stood out to me was the fact that…I had no idea what I was doing.  I started out with “giving”, represented by a girl who appeared to be hanging out in some sort of church.  I walked around, and I think I made her pray or fall asleep or something a few times (because a day goes by each time) before I wandered outside in confusion.  After that, the game switched me to “capable” for some reason.  This was represented by a guy who could collect money that, as far as I was able to tell, had no purpose.  I mean, there must have been some reason for what I was doing, but I couldn’t figure it out.  The next thing I know, Giving and Capable have teamed up for a really confusing puzzle where they stand on switches and streetlights change.

After blindly messing around with this for a while and getting no closer to understanding what the heck was going on, I quit the game and switched to Distant.  This guy is represented as someone who doesn’t want to be seen by others.  His puzzle actually made sense, as you must place noise-making devices around to distract people so that you can pass by them unseen.  While this puzzle was far more intuitive than the others, the problem was…it was a bit too simple to be much fun.  Sure, it got a bit harder as it went on, but that didn’t prevent the whole affair from overstaying its welcome.

I really couldn’t recommend this game based on what was provided in the demo.  However, if you enjoy puzzle games, you might want to check out The Last Campfire, which is $14.99 and available on all major consoles.  This game is also a collection of puzzles that represent the problems of those you are helping, except the puzzles are fun, intuitive, and there is some exploring to be done in between.

Video from YouTube User: Virtual Bastion