Pathos is one of the most under-rated “art” games out there, currently resigning at a 2.8 (out of five). This macabre game will bring you through a deep and threatening underworld, in which you the player help him along the way, turning on switches for your character, for bridges, only to later kill him yourself. Pathos is a pretty slow game, but you really have to slow down to enjoy everything about the game and the atmosphere that it provides. One of the most impressive things about this game is that it was made in 48 hours! Here’s a word from the developer:

Pathos is a slow, experimental game that follows the story of a boy plunged into an unfamiliar world and trying to get back home. You’ll discover something about him, his world and maybe even about yourself by the end of the game. It was made in 48 hours.

Pathos

There wasn’t actually any difficulty factor for this game, but I could see the developer going back to this game for a sequel to make it more puzzle like. Right now, it’s more like a run-through of this strange world that you character has unfortunately ended up in. A more puzzle theme would really help this game and I felt like that’s what the developer was trying to do here and there, but of course those “here and there” puzzles were quiet easy and more complex puzzles would fit right in. Probably the most difficult thing for a lot of people, and I’m only saying this because there was no difficulty factor at all, was walking around with this character as he stopped every couple of seconds to tell you how horrid his life is, which pretty well caused the “slow” feeling of this game that many users experience.

I loved the atmosphere in this game, I cannot stress that enough – it’s a fantastic atmosphere for an art game it was eerie and overall scary and frightening at times as the evil monster, or you was placed into the game and because it has a little hint of mystery in it you’re always wondering what will happen next, “will he ever reach home?” The developer (who also made the hit-game Mr. Run) did a fabulous job incorporating the user into this entire game. Throughout the game, you’re helping the human, or so I think, and we keep pushing the human to explore and not to give up. We “force him onward” (that’s actually a line from the game!). Although, at the end of the game we kill the mortal on the bridge (or so I think again). This game actually left the ending pretty open. Sure the evil creature that you play in this game could have ultimately helped the mortal, which would make him not so evil, or simply-put, the creature could have kill the human. I’m going with the latter just by how the creature is presented in the game, it’s truly something evil as possessed by it dark shape and fierce red eyes. There are really many ways that you can interpret this game.

Pathos

I loved the art in Pathos. It was very simple and clean looking and held a unique charm about it that not only made the game cute and happy, well at least in the beginning and then, using the same style developed a more threatening, ominous mood and feeling. Featured in the image about is the human’s bedroom, which is later perceived at a more run-down room in the underworld that the character eventually dies in. What I loved about the art was that it was simple and easy-going. It had a little grudge design to it, where you could notice little spots all around the screen. This grudge effect, though small and barely noticeable actually made the art what it is, otherwise everything would have a bold color to it and that would become boring and undesirable fast. The incorporable of posters in the bedroom to show off the logos of the companies that help or sponsored was pretty neat, much better than a big old logo sitting at the bottom of the screen, hollering “click me!”

The ambient music was extremely helpful to the overall atmosphere and and ominous feeling of the entire game. What I liked about the developer’s music choice is that the music is there to support the setting and theme of the game with its more dark sound that is has and then the developer capitalizes on sound effects and makes them rather noticeable making the ambient track become more of background music and the background sound effects become your surroundings making a unique listening experience that makes you feel as though you’re experiencing the game with the human – little does he know that you’ll be the reason for his demise. I really like the sound effect present in the text. It strongly reminds me of Harvest Moon for some reason, as well as Animal Crossing (who doesn’t remember the awesome sound effects present when you talked to the animals in Animal Crossing, by a show of hands? Zero? As I had guessed.).

There was little replay-ability present in Pathos. Actually, there was none and the only time that you might come back to the game is just to go down memory lane again or if you’re sharing Pathos with your friends. Otherwise, if you like the game, favorite it and move on. Sadly, as the game currently is there is no room for replay value, but as the game expands, so will the room for more features such as replay value. I would love to see Pathos evolve into a more puzzle like game if the developer does pursue this game to the next level, but if he just puts out another game like this as a sequel then I’ll be disappointed, simply because there is so much room for improvement and I believe with a little work and if this game was a little longer and took the puzzle genre for a run that it could end up as one of the most memorable games of 2011, but we’ll just have to wait and see where the developer takes it from here. I could see this game expanding to a a full on puzzle game, while still incorporated the creepy, ominous music and still have a very similar storyline – the effect would practically be the same if the developer keep the interest of the people during the game.

Overall, Pathos was a very fun and exciting game that is a classic “art” game example that allows the player to interpret the storyline however they want to interpret it. I still can’t get over the that this could have been a much better game with a little work, which I thoroughly detailed in the last paragraph. Any art game fan will love this game! In review, the difficulty wasn’t really there it felt more like you were watching a sequence of events that took place in this unlucky mortal’s life and there was little, actual, gameplay. On the other hand the execution of this game, creating that almost indescribable feeling in you wax spot on and I always found myself wonder what will happen next and if the boy was going to survive – then again, I guess that it’s his fault that he wanted to go explore a dark and vast underworld before going to sleep! The art was phenomenal and the little grudge effect on everything made the game look sensational with such an simple effect. Music was sublime I thoroughly enjoyed the mood that it created. All in all, I’d love to see a sequel to this game, but it has to be expanded upon. Like I previously mentioned this game could easily take the shape of a dark puzzle platformer. Take Don’t Look Back by Terry Cavanagh for example, it still holds it’s overall message while delivering a strong gameplay scheme. Anyways, great game, a bit under-rated for it’s epic-ness, but it has a lot of holes that could be patched up and left much to be desired.

Play Pathos on Kongregate!