The Pathless

Game review by
Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media
The Pathless Game Poster Image
Stunning adventure stars female hero and scary monsters.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The story is a traditional tale of good overcoming evil. There's also strong messaging about the bonds that can be built between people and animals. 

Positive Role Models

The protagonist is a female archer -- a brave, courageous warrior who risks her own safety to help others. She shares a strong bond with her eagle companion, who she protects and cares for deeply. 

Ease of Play

The Pathless features some non-traditional mechanics for character movement, but they're well explained and intuitive. It also includes some challenging puzzles and a free-form progression path that's largely up to the player to figure out. 

Violence

Combat is limited to a handful of boss battles with mythical monsters. These wildlife-based beasts are fairly frightening, consumed in flame and using fire-based attacks. The player also discovers a number of human corpses and skeletal remains. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Pathless is a downloadable action-adventure game available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Mac, and Apple Arcade. It stars a female protagonist -- a brave, heroic hunter who forms a strong bond with an eagle she befriends. Combat's limited to boss battles with somewhat frightening, flame-engulfed beasts that unleash fiery attacks against the protagonist. Players also discover corpses and skeletal remains throughout the journey, although they're not shown with any degree of blood, gore, or graphic detail. The gameplay includes a clever, if non-traditional method of character movement that's easy to pick up but takes some time to master. There's also a number of challenging puzzles, as well as a free-form progression structure that's not always clear. 

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What's it about?

THE PATHLESS is a mythical open-world adventure that sees a brave, female archer tasked with ridding the world of a dark curse. Assisted by an eagle companion, the young warrior uses her bow and brains to explore stunning, lush outdoor environments, solve puzzles, and best the land's possessed beasts. As the archer's journey becomes more dangerous, her bond with the winged companion grows stronger, ensuring the pair stick together and protect each other at all costs. 

Is it any good?

The concept of an unlikely protagonist tasked with vanquishing a dark force determined to destroy the world Is a familiar one, but it's the presentation and play that helps this game stand out. The Pathless uses a stylized, painterly style that brings the sprawling, naturalistic world to life with the sort of beauty typically reserved for an artist's canvas. Additionally, the gameplay allows you to move through the serene settings with a clever control scheme that sees you building momentum with the protagonist's bow and arrows. By shooting small targets -- littered throughout the land -- in quick succession, you're able to propel yourself forward in a manner that'll immediately put a smile on your face. 

As much fun as it is using the archer's skills to get around, the fluid controls only represent part of the game's imaginative take on traversal. You can also call on your eagle companion to help you ascend to high destinations and cross wide gaps. Of course, the warrior and her winged ally don't only rely on these tricks to go sightseeing, but also to solve environmental puzzles and take down the cursed beasts threatening to consume the land. Exploring the world, cracking puzzles, and engaging in epic boss battles offers an absorbing, generally well-paced mix of activities. The evolution of your abilities, as well as your growing bond with the bird also deepen the experience. That said, the game's title is sometimes applied too literally, leaving the player lost in the world -- or at a loss for a puzzle solution. These are minor gripes though, ones that rarely overshadow The Pathless' stronger elements. Still, players craving a more structured experience, tied to a less mysterious tale, might want to consider a different path. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between the hero and the eagle. How do they help each other? How do their skill sets compliment each other? How does their bond change and evolve over the course of the story?

  • What does The Pathless communicate about nature? How does it show wildlife and its surroundings? How do the cursed animals differ from their cleansed counterparts?

  • Does The Pathless' fictional tale of good versus evil remind you of any real world rivalries? Do the characters remind you of the heroes and villains of other games? How does the game depict both sides' motives without using much dialog? 

Game details

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For kids who love adventure

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