Areia was an interesting journey filled with some beautiful landscapes, excellent platforming elements, and Hinduism/Buddhism based symbology thrown in. Was a unique experience that’s likely different for everyone.
Genre: Adventure, Exploration,
Developer: Gilp Studio
Publisher: Gilp Studio
Release date: 17 Jan, 2020
Areia: Pathway to Dawn is an indie third person adventure game with some platforming elements. There is no dialogue, and no voice acting but don’t let that dissuade you from trying it. The game was developed to give each player a unique experience. It’s a meditative adventure as you journey across the path of enlightenment with all of your actions changing the outcome of the game. If this sounds interesting to you, do read on, there’s a bit more to the game than meets the eye.
Areia is a game that doesn’t rely on a story, instead, it relies on the player’s curiosity and urge to explore the game world. This fact may wind up boring a lot of people as it’s the central focus of the game, but I was oddly hooked to it the moment I started playing it and I wound up having the urge to see what lies at the end. I’m also normally a person that can’t really get into a game for long periods of time unless there’s a superb story so this was surprising. So, I wouldn’t let the lack of story elements dissuade you to try out the game yourself.
The game also relies heavily on religious symbology, namely Hinduism and Buddhism. To be completely honest with you, I’m not a spiritual person by nature, so a lot of the symbolism was lost on me I will admit. That being said, I found the game interesting regardless and I had a rather unique experience with it as someone looking from the outside. For me, the game was more so a journey to find oneself in a sea of emptiness. The “other” you that you follow in the game being your inner self in which it guides you and teaches you along the way. I also got the feeling that it could also have been your opposite self, in a good vs. evil type deal, because there were times when following it would lead to disaster, like falling into the water as an example. It’s interesting to think about nonetheless and I imagine the experience would be different depending on the person.
It’s also worth mentioning that the developers are planning an update to the game to add in texts that explain the symbology used in the game, to make it easier for people to understand what symbology was used and what the game is about. They’re planning it for a new game+ type mode to keep the first playthrough unique to each person as it was intended. This would certainly help me understand a lot of it a lot better.
Platforming plays a pretty large part in this game as it’s a good deal of what you do gameplay-wise. One of my favorite parts about the platforming in this game is the fact that the world around you evolves and changed based on your actions. The character has the ability to build towers and bridges across the game world and connecting golden mud bridged to each other, makes the world change around you. As an example, there’s a section involving a growing tree where connecting the mud bridges together makes new branches grow, unlocking new pathways along the tree. Other times it changes the amount of water in a location.
There are also puzzle elements mixed in with the platforming as well, but they’re quite simple to figure out, at least I found them to be, might be different for someone else. These puzzles revolve around guiding lines to colored pads on the ground or on pillars. You have to match them in a way that they aren’t touching or crossing each other. Only one of the puzzles wound up giving me a little trouble (It was one I was doing while recording my video, in fact). Once these pads are connected, you then meditate on a picture of your surroundings and then the world around you changes shape to match what’s shown in the picture.
The game is quite simple to play so it can be experienced by people of all ages.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Areia: Pathway to Dawn. It’s definitely a game that may not be for everyone but I found it enjoyable enough to recommend giving a shot if you ever get the chance. Its puzzle platforming was solid (I did find the movement a little slippery at times, I will admit), the experience was pretty poignant for a game with no dialogue or story elements, and its music was absolutely superb. Honestly, I wound up turning my speakers up quite a bit and it sounded incredible, the bass was very punchy too surprisingly. I’m going to Save for Later on this one, definitely worth a look and has only minor issues that will no doubt get sorted out sometime soon.