Game Review: The Pillar: Puzzle Escape

Release date: 2021
Version played: Xbox Series X in 2020

A first person puzzle game developed by small Czech Republic studio Paper Bunker, and published by eastasiasoft, The Pillar: Puzzle Escape was released in January of 2021. Eight separate levels host dozens of unique puzzles, as players also look to gather collectible puzzle pieces across the ever-changing landscape.

+ generally speaking, the puzzles are fun. Most take the form of connecting various starting points in a grid without overlapping the lines, which is a style I grew very fond of back when that was the only style of game my mobile phone was able to play. Eventually things like four digit combination locks, and matching a nearby grid pattern are thrown in, but for me, none reach the thrill of those original line challenges
+ it’s no secret I’m a sucker for this art style, and that is literally the reason I bought this. The environments are nice, and while you can say that the puzzles themselves are relatively standard, they fit in with the design of the world

– I never found any of the puzzles difficult (but see my caveat regarding colours below). Once you figured out the gimmick of each set of puzzles, it was more a chore of slogging through them. I was not a fan of a few puzzle types in particular, including some where a pattern was drawn before disappearing, and you had to repeat the series of movements. Again, they were more of a chore than a challenge
– when the puzzles involved colours, I was entirely unable to complete them (as I have written about before). I’m not ashamed to say I had to read an online guide a few times, though only ever for those puzzles. I don’t know why developers are adverse to putting symbols on anything colour related or simply not designing colour based puzzles in the first place
– this game is really short. I completed each level, including all achievements and collectibles, in a single play through of approximately 8-10 hours. I was sorely disappointed

> after Call of the Sea was such a pleasant surprise, I thought maybe I had a magic gift to only buy good games. I was wrong

Should you play this game: No. Even as relatively cheap as this was, it was not worth the single sitting play through or the repetitive (and for me, impossible colour based) puzzles. Buy The Witness instead, and if you already own that, play through it again.

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