Some time ago, I wrote about the upcoming Path Of Kami Prologue, a puzzle game focusing on exploration in a dream-like ancient Japan, and it’s a title heading to Steam.
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Steam isn’t always accurate when it comes to notifications, at least with how I configured it, but seeing tweets about the Path Of Kami Prologue demo, I didn’t get how I couldn’t download it yet. Thinking I missed the boat, I was reserved into waiting for it when it’s released later in the year.
However, the tweets were still showing, and not being about to find a downloadable demo on Steam, I referred to my notes: Itch.io. Godammit. Besides there being so many games to cover as a one-man band, there’s also so many platforms. Itch is marvellous, and I should spend more time there; still, you aren’t here to read about my habits.
Path Of Kami Prologue is even better ‘in the flesh’. I want Kazeyo, the wolf, as my companion. Not romantically, you freaks, but they’re just sooo cool. Don’t tell my GSD, she’ll be jealous. The character modelling is charming – it’s not super sharp ‘I can see my pores in the reflections’ type visuals, but they have this textured feel to them.
At first, I couldn’t work out if the illumination on Kazeyo was a bit sketchy due to my settings or designed that way. On closer inspection, they have this frosted effect – it’s super cool, notably with the ice theme too, and irrespective of whether Captilight will blow me a kiss for the kinds words or not, this is a protagonist I immediately connected with.
It’s almost like you’re looking at a watercolour painting through a bathroom window. As voyeuristic as that sounds, it’s a very pleasant effect. My connection with Japan (where this is based) is ‘oop North’, so winter scenes are familiar. As much as I love the views, I prefer the temperature settings in Path Of Kami Prologue as I can run in the snow, while wearing my pants at the desk without catching a chill.
But I’m waffling more than usual. Without opposable thumbs, Kazeyo wanders the terrain on all fours, lighting lanterns using spirit orbs. Spirit depletes through usage, so you have to restore it at some of the fountains you find.
The screen is free of all clutter, going for that minimalist approach. There are no health gauges or counters, leaving you free to roam. If you cock up, Kazeyo will respawn (dropping out of the air, which is a bit weird), but it’s all very chilled, and despite some floaty jumping, no drama if you fall into the freezing water.
Jumping was a little unusual at times. You could surmise that the cold in was causing Kazeyo to freeze up in mid-air, but he does metamorphose into a statue while jumping and loses that fluidity. In fact, as I type this, he’s lying down and resisting his eyes. All very lovely; it’s just that airborne stuff that feels a bit rigid.
It’s quite a path of solitude, but Kazeyo is accompanied by Wisp, who guides you, informing you about the lanterns and sacred fountains.
It’s only a demo, so no need for casting out the toys, but the save points were a bit off. Text will appear to say saving on the screen without disrupting play, and you’ll keep any of the bells you collect, but falling off a ledge will respawn you quite far back. Again, it’s no biggie, but hopefully, this won’t be the case in the full game. Fortunately, there are no enemies to battle en route.
There wasn’t much of a puzzle element here other than fetching items and backtracking. Still, the exploration was nice and especially interesting to see some of the desolate villages and collecting Nambu tekki along the way. Either some of the developers at Capitilight have had a stint in Japan, or they’ve done extensive research as there are a lot of nice touches to this game.
It doesn’t feel cliche. Sure, there are torii gates and lanterns, but that’s what defines the culture. The music in the game is very subtle and doesn’t go that route of pipes and Kabuki. It worked perfectly for the experience.
There’s not that much to do in Path Of Kami Prologue, and it’s a bit like a walking simulator, only with jumping. That might be interpreted as a bad thing, but if you’ve been reading this and not skimming, you’ll have picked up that I really liked it. There’s something tranquil about it, and it’s nice to explore a Japanese themed title without carrying a sword for once.
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Thoughts? It’s a no-brainer first of all as it’s available as a demo. A relatively small 700MB ish file, and you can get it from Itch.io. As for the gameplay? Very nice indeed. The jumping did bother me a little towards the end, not leaving a bad taste as the positives outweighed it, but it takes a bit of getting used to and, dare I say, exercising some patience. This isn’t Mario.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a try for yourself, and remember to wishlist it on Steam!