Title: The Pedestrian
Developer: Skookum Arts
Publisher: Skookum Arts
Genre: Indie 2.5D Puzzle-Platformer
Available On: PC
Tested On: PC
Official Site: www.skookum-arts.com
Release Date: January 29th, 2020
Where To Buy: Steam Store
As a kid, you might remember car rides not being the most exciting. You generally had to make your fun and let your imagination run wild to be preoccupied. I, for one, would imagine someone running across rooftops or the little guys on street signs coming alive. It worked for me back then, and I still think back to it now and again. I find it strange, though, that no one had attempted to recreate that fantasy since I’m not the only one who thought of it. That is until I discovered The Pedestrian.
If you haven’t already heard of The Pedestrian, it’s an indie 2.5D puzzle platformer from Skookum Arts (that’s also their first game). You play as the Pedestrian, a small character on a street sign left on a road. You move between different signs, moving around and connecting different signs at will to solve the puzzles. Move on to bigger and more complex areas in your quest for freedom. The game is available exclusively for PC on Steam, and you can learn more here.
Now, if there’s one thing I think everyone will agree on with this game, it’s that it’s filled with an incredible amount of passion and charm. The backdrops, despite you never playing on them, are designed as a living breathing world. I often found myself admiring the backdrops before doing the puzzles, which is something I very rarely do in games. Even the play area and the different signs are designed with such thought that I wouldn’t normally expect, and serves to enhance the experience. On top of all that, your menu is an old TV screen. What more could you ask for?
But of course, that isn’t entirely why you’re playing the game. You likely want some solid puzzle platforming too, and Pedestrian serves not only to meet that but also excel at it. The game introduces a lot of new mechanics and does so phenomenally, which is something most puzzle games don’t do. They start the mechanic out simply, having you get the hang of the idea and slowly ramping up the difficulty. Then eventually, you take on complex puzzles that make you think about it extensively. I have to commend the development team behind The Pedestrian. I haven’t seen this level of polish since playing Portal many years ago, so it was quite refreshing. Overall, the gameplay had a lot of thought put into it, which paid off.
This is combined with the emphasis on thinking outside of the box literally and figuratively. You have to move around a lot of your play area if you want to solve certain puzzles that require a lot of outside thinking. You’ll also push the entire piece of the backdrop around in some parts to access different areas. This thinking out of the box goes to big lengths for the final puzzle of the game, but I won’t go into that to avoid spoilers. There isn’t a lot that I can say wrong here.
And of course, everything is wrapped together with some excellent sound design. The entire score of the game is the right level of calm that you’d want from a puzzle game of this sort. There are also different songs depending on which area of the game you’re in that fits the setting. Logan Hayes, the composer for The Pedestrian, deserves every bit of praise he gets. The soundtrack’s Steam page says the soundtrack is “carefully crafted to evoke a myriad of pleasant emotions,” and that’s not exaggerating.
Game Length And Options
Despite all these great things I have to say about the game, there are admittedly two issues I have with it. The most notable of those is the length of the game. My entire playthrough took about four hours to complete, with only a few extra things you can do. A puzzle game like this needs a bit more content, especially at a $20 price point. Not to mention there isn’t any replayability for the average player, meaning many likely won’t be going on a second playthrough. What’s there is incredibly solid, but it was just a shame not to see more.
The other issue was with the options available. There isn’t a whole lot you can change within the settings menu, and the ability to change keybinds is missing. It isn’t the worst since the control scheme is alright, but it would be nice. The options you have already will likely be fine, though.
Verdict: The Pedestrian is an incredibly solid experience, filled with a lot of passion and charm. The art of the game is beautiful, and will likely hold up for years to come. The gameplay feels consistently fresh, with many new things being introduced all the way through. To wrap it all together, there’s a beautiful soundtrack that makes you feel pleasant while playing the game. The game may be rather short and lack some options, but it’s an experience that any puzzle fan needs to play.
- Great art design
- Well designed puzzles
- Lots of thinking outside the box
- Pleasant soundtrack
- Filled with passion and charm
- Short game (4 hours)
- Slightly limited options