The Sojourn



Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:  Shifting Tides

Publisher:    Iceberg Interactive

Released:   September 20, 2019 (as an Epic Exclusive), 2020 on Steam

Requirements (minimum):

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or higher 
  • Processor: Quad Core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 or AMD Radeon HD 6870 or better
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 3 GB available space (Epic webpage for game says 3 GB, Steam webpage says 5 GB)




By flotsam

The Sojourn

Shifting Tides

I knew nothing about this game when I started playing, but a very short while in the game which came to mind was The Talos Principle. While it didn’t have that game's philosophical discourse, it involved the same type of manipulation of objects in the environment in order to exit through the door and move to the next part of the world. Minus the shooting/exploding fatalities.

There is somewhat of a sameness (albeit grand) to the game world environments, and its narrative-light, but the puzzling conundrums are the thing. Move things, manipulate things, design a way through to the door to move on. Quite a few areas have additional parts that are accessible once you complete the main area, which you can choose to do or not. Ignore them and move on if you wish, or tackle the extra bit and be rewarded with a scroll of wisdom.

There is a lot of puzzling of that type here. I reckon I spent more than 20 hours making my way through, and I did most but not all of the add-ons, so more play time is on the cards.

What the game does well is introduce you gradually to the bits and pieces you need to manipulate (or overcome) in order to progress. Very quickly you will discover a “light” and a “dark” world, and a pedestal of fire. Walking into the fire activates the dark world and enables you to see and use pathways or bridges that aren't there in the light world. It also enables you to activate the statues that are a key part of the manipulation.

When I began, there was a statue that enabled me to swap places with it. This was immediately useful as your capacity to move around in the dark world is limited. You can only move a certain distance, so if you want to cross a bridge that doesn't exist in the light world, you better hope that is within your dark world range. If not, perhaps you can move the statue to a location to which, if you then swap places with, means you can make it across the bridge within the movement range available.

Assuming that the statue is activated. Which you can find out for yourself.

A few doors later, I was introduced to a portal that opened a gate, so long as the statue was standing on it. A few more, and a second musical statue enabled me to repair broken bridges for a limited amount of time in either world. About the same time, prickly growth prevented accessing some dark places, but the light world location remained unencumbered. Further on I could generate and then reflect tunnels of darkness by manipulating mirrors, which I could then move through uninhibited by the distance limitations. Arches will transport you permanently to the dark world until you walk through another one, eyes will help you stay there too. And so on.

The game environment is a set of hubs and spokes, which help you manage your movement through the world. Complete the spokes and another area will be open to you. You can go back, but not always, although capacity exists at the end to revisit areas and collect any ignored or unable to be reached scrolls.

I always hesitate to say that you can get stuck, generally assuming that I haven’t found the way forward, but some googling indicates that it is possible to do things in one area that prevent you moving on. Which isn’t a dead-end issue, as in any area you can simply choose to reset, which will restore you and everything else to when you first entered the area. Which I did far more often than I actually got stuck, in order to tidy things up and choose what to do next, unencumbered by wherever I had moved or pushed things before.

You can’t save at will though, the game saving as you enter an area, and so there may be times when you spent a length of time in an area before getting stuck, meaning you can’t go back a short way to an earlier save but have to start the area again. But it didn’t really bother me, because I preferred the clean slate to hoping I had saved before whatever might have been the dead-end move - assuming I could identify it!

The game is a polygon-ish world that creates as you enter each area, colourful and inviting at times, more forbidding at others. Many areas are at dizzying heights, but while you can fall off things into the void you get restored to just before the “fatal” moment, so there is no real death. The music changes across the environments, including in the dark world. All up, it was a very OK realm in which to spend the hours of play time.

Jumping into water warrants a special mention.

You move with the keyboard and interact with the mouse. Follow the orbs, don’t meet anyone, but come across a number of tableaus which might indicate what went on here. I have a view, but to me it didn’t really matter. As I indicated up front, the puzzling is the excellent thing.


I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700k 3.7 GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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