Signs of the Sojourner takes the concept of card-based battles and turns it into something much more tranquil. Playing as a travelling shop owner looking to stock shelves with produce from around the country, the game is about meeting a diverse range of characters and engaging in conversations with them. Rather than your usual dialogue systems, you use an ever-evolving deck of cards to chat with friends — or enemies.
Each card bears a symbol on each side, and the idea is to place them next to each other so the symbols match up. Succeeding in this will usually lead to a positive outcome, while mucking up normally makes a character less fond of you. Given you can only carry so many cards, and that you'll never have enough of them to "talk" to everyone effectively, you're forced to form solid and shaky relationships. How you play impacts how characters perceive you, and how the game will end.
It's a smart system that puts a refreshing emphasis on social interactions. We really enjoy the game's peaceful atmosphere and relaxed pace, too. With a caravan of companions, you'll gradually discover each location in the game's world, and various events mean you'll want to be in certain places at certain times. While we couldn't play every permutation of the game, it's clear there's lots of directions it can go — it might be worth playing again to focus on other folks.
There are some parts that don't quite work. A fatigue system discourages you from prolonged excursions and can make things tricky, and the limited number of cards means you're rarely fully prepared to speak with everyone. Overall, though, we'd say it's a successful experiment, and a breath of fresh air among all the usual noise.
I’m not completely sold on the art direction based on the screen shots, but I love the idea of a card based conversation game. I may be off base, but something about it reminds me of the dialogue system in Heaven’s Vault.
Also, totally agree with fatigue systems being a nuisance. There’s nothing like surviving a thrilling battle in Fenix Rising only to be thrown off a cliff by an arbitrary stamina bar.
Nice review, liked the sound of it since I heard someone talk about the pc version on a podcast I listen to. @Quintumply, when you say the writing can sometimes be weak, did that impact how much you wanted to keep playing? This seems like the kind of game that lives and dies by its narrative
@R1spam Not really, the writing and story overall is quite charming. I didn't always find the dialogue that engaging personally but it's generally decent
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