Supergiant Games is a company known for quality over quantity. Each one of their previous installments, Bastion and Transistor, were masterpieces in their own respects. Worlds filled with mystery and lore filled with fantastic visuals complemented by an amazing soundtrack. At PAX East I was able to get my hands on Pyre, the newly announced Supergiant title just days before PAX East. After my time it left more questions than answers as to what exactly I was playing.
The demo starts off at what I would assume to be the beginning of the game. You the character are thrown into a place of purgatory that has no escape. You will have to spend the rest of your life in this place, however as you lay there almost dead a mysterious masked trio find you. After some conversation they realize that you can read and ask that you read a book in their possession. Upon reading it they are transported into a weird dimension. The game goes on to give you the basic tutorial of Pyre, you control 3 characters and need to bring a neutral orb to the opposing side’s base. You can only move one character at a time, and while carrying the orb you cannot attack or defend yourself in any way. When controlling a character and not in possession of the orb your character gives off an aura. If the enemy walks into this aura they die, your character can also attack the enemies as well to try to free up the map. When a character dies on either side they respawn in a matter of 5 seconds. Should your character or the opposing character get the orb to the opposite base they are unable to respawn the next round until someone gets the orb to a new base. The first side to drop the life of the opposing base to 0 wins the match.
It is clear that a lot of thought went into the careful planning of balancing both sides, but the whole idea is something that I would expect from Supergiant. Every time they make a new game I have no idea what new experience I will be introduced to and can only assume that it will all make sense the further I play. Pyre isn’t just about 3 v 3 arena combat, there are many more elements to the game that go beyond that. Outside of combat you are tasked with decisions to try to prepare yourself for the next battle and gather supplies for your wagon. After the first match up you have 3 days to make it to the next location. The scenery as you travel is in full vibrant form and no detail was spared to make out of combat appealing to the player. Each day of travel consumes food which needs to be scavenged during the night. At the end of each travel day you get to decide to help level up 1 character, scavenge for supplies, or read more of this mysterious book in order to gain an advantage. Each of your 3 characters can level up and gain new abilities to make the Pyre battles easier. The player is forced to choose wisely what to do each night and how to build their team. It is said that after all the Pyre matches are complete that people trapped in this wasteland will be allowed to escape.
The battles themselves were tricky and will take some getting used to in order to triumph. While I was able to win both of the matches that I took part in, but it was clear that the game will require some practice in order to not lose later on in the game. Being able to swap characters and work all 3 as a well-oiled machine will be the key to tackling later battles.
Pyre left me wanting more and left me with more questions about what it is than I had before my hands on, this much is certain though, that based off of the track record of Supergiant Games we can expect that Pyre will be one to look out for in the coming months.