I don’t have a lot to say about Signs of the Sojourner. Which is a little surprising, because it seemed provisionally up my alley: I like card mechanics, I like narrative games, I like experimental gameplay, and discussions in podcasts (e.g. in Eggplant) made it sound interesting?

Or at least I think of myself as a person that likes experimental gameplay: I’m certainly glad that games exist that try something new. But, honestly, a lot of the time games like that don’t click for me. And Signs of the Sojourner was in that latter camp, unfortunately.

Basically, there was enough to think about in your deck construction to keep me reasonably busy with that in my first playthrough, and the narrative aspects weren’t particularly forceful. So I ended the playthrough not really having gotten a lot out of the narrative; but also the card play, while not insubstantial, pretty clearly isn’t the point of the game at some level. So neither the narrative or the gameplay were enough of a pull to make me want to try going through the game a second time.


It’s also a slightly uncomfortable length: the game is clearly designed to be played multiple times, but it took me maybe 5 hours to play through? So, basically if I were going to give it a second run, that second run would take up most of my game playing time for that week; a large enough choice that the cost becomes real.

Which is a little silly now that I type it out: I’m going through Nier Replicant right now, and endings after the first one probably take a similar length, but I never considered stopping after ending A? Part of that is that I enjoyed my first pass through Nier Replicant more than my first pass through Signs of the Sojourner; but there’s also some sort of sunk cost-ish fallacy going on there, where I don’t treat an extra 5 hours on a game that I’ve already spent 25 hours on the same way I treat an extra 5 hours on a game that I’ve already spent 5 hours on.

Though, also: I have a pretty good idea that, with the second ending of Nier Replicant, I’m getting a different angle on a story that I’ve already seen a coherent presentation on, combined with gameplay that I already have a handle on (for better or for worse). And, given what I’ve seen from the game and from the developer, I’m willing to give that a try. Whereas with Signs of the Sojourner, it’s a little less clear what I’d get out of those next 5 hours. I don’t have confidence that there’s a picture of a world there that I want to spend 10 hours learning about; I don’t have confidence that the card gameplay is interesting enough for me to want to keep on going on there; and I’m not yet convinced that I like the meta-commentary that the gameplay makes (on communication and how its dynamics change as you proceed through life, based on the choices you make, basically) enough to want to spend more time there.


I dunno; I actually am genuinely happy to have gone through the game once? But I was also hoping that I’d get something out Signs of the Sojourner that was a little beyond what I experienced…

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