Pillar, a new game available on PS4, uses the personalities of the game’s characters to create its puzzles. As you explore a snowy town looking for an artifact that’s supposed to contain knowledge, they will play as several different people, each with a specific personality trait that will dictate how they interact with the environment and the puzzles within. It’s a concept that sounded pretty weird on paper, leaving me wondering how you turn someone who’s ‘capable’ into a gameplay mechanic, but developer Michael Hicks has somehow gotten it to work.
A lot of the game involves picking up items, avoiding or moving near other people, and hitting switches. The effect you have on the environments is largely decided by your character’s personality trait, so if you’re someone who’s ‘giving’, you’re going to want to help people by turning on lights or activating helpful things with your actions. On the opposite spectrum, our ‘capable’ (greedy) fellow, with his sack full of cash, is more interested in shutting off lights and grabbing money for himself. Other characters, such as ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’, either want to be near people or avoid them completely, changing how you interact with guards and other people in the environment. These problems and needs are then used to create puzzles, forcing you to think like the character you’re playing as.
Each character tells their own silent tale as you collect a series of notes to bring them to the game’s conclusion. You can choose which personality type you play as, only getting the whole story once you’ve completed everyone’s puzzles. Those curious about the concept can download the game’s Itch.io demo to get a better feel for puzzles tied to personality. That way, you can get a taste of the soothing soundtrack and the calming feeling of a walk through the snow that Pillar offers along with its strange puzzle-solving.