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.