The good thing about indie games is that they dare to come up with completely impossible things, for example, mixing a story adventure game with a card game, and when the mix works it results in better and more exciting games. The same was the case with Iris and The Giant a few months ago. Today it is the California developers of Ecotac games who provide Sogerner’s credentials. Is this game worth the candle?
Strange (but beautiful) caravan
The beginning of the game is very sudden, the heroine’s mother dies and she finds herself having to manage the family shop. She decides to follow one of the merchants’ merchants to find the goods to sell. Sojourner’s symptoms are very low in its graphics and its gameplay.
You need to communicate with the characters you meet using cards with labels. Round, cross, square, triangle, you need to match them for the conversation to run smoothly. Each dialog is marked with a line at the top of the screen, with white or black squares that, if successful, turn into white dialog bubbles and black if missed.
Failure in a discussion does not mean the end of the game. It is the loss of an opportunity or the premature end of a sketch, but it can change over time. Game time is special. A calendar shows our progress, and our first trip ends fifty days later. It takes five trips, each filled with different encounters and game cards to see the end of the adventure.
The meetings we make during a trip will lead to a different ending if we receive the cards, the symbols of which will be better matched with our narrator at this time. These symbols represent our mood: empathy, logical, diplomatic, creative, hard work, observer.
Dogs bark, caravan passes by (it’ll be back soon)
The real difficulty with Sojourner’s labels is that the only language available is English. For a game where conversations play a major role, it is difficult for anyone who does not speak English at the right level. Without understanding the issues, you completely lose the emotional impact of the title and, in fact, the game is disconnected from the majority of its audience. This is a shame because knowing that only written conversations exist may have been localized.
As for the game, the concept of abbreviations on the cards is interesting, but having only ten cards on your deck greatly limits the possibilities. Additionally, after each conversation, you must select one-third of the cards to choose from and drop one card off your deck. Then, throughout the journey, we get “fatigue” cards that cause us to lose the conversation while playing. That’s okay by itself, but starting a discussion is so frustrating that we have no card and won’t let the conversation move in a positive way.
Graphically, the game is made up of very beautiful pastel stills, which is like a graphic novel. Sonically, the music is quiet and soothing, which is very much in tune with the concept of the game.