Mystic Pillars is a puzzle game that takes a little time to ‘click’ – but once it does it’s a far more rewarding and satisfying experience than you might expect.
Developed by Indian based Holy Cow Productions, it boasts the subtitle “A Story-Based Puzzle Game.” And although the game and story never quite mesh together perfectly we certainly can’t fault the developer’s ambition.
The gameplay is moderately simple to get to grasps with – and is based around the Indian board game Ali Guli Mane (more commonly known as Mancala).
You’re faced with a number of pillars, with a guide on how many stones must be placed on each. Stones can only move as far as the number being moved.
Although that might sound simple the difficulty does ramp up, but never to a level where trial and error becomes a viable solution.
Instead Mystic Pillars is a more relaxed puzzle game, and we’re totally on board with that. From the laid back music to the soothing artstyle it’s a title that wants you to progress, and that’s refreshing.
The gameplay loop is satisfying then, but if we’re nitpicking does perhaps lacks the complexity and depth of the very best puzzlers – something the developer perhaps recognised by including a hefty story element.
Greatly influenced by Indian traditions, the narrative is rarely massively exciting – but is also never dull enough to skip through. You’ll want to know more about the character you play as (a mysterious traveller looking to solve a drought that has blighted the land – it’s perhaps no surprise that the titular pillars are involved), and it’s clearly been put together with a great deal of love.
Which sums Mystic Pillars up. Although it’s not revolutionary in its gameplay or narrative elements it combines the two to far better effect than it has any right to – and is ultimately a well priced passion project that’s well worth investigating.