Bottle: Pilgrim Review
Bottle: Pilgrim Review
For those who enjoy walking simulators, Bottle: Pilgrim is a visually stunning place to hike while listening to an uplifting story
Posted: 03/15/18 | Category: Review | Developer: Tonguç Bodur | Publisher: Tonguç Bodur | Platform: Windows

Genre: Walking Simulator
Release date: November 10, 2017
Platform: Windows

Take a Hike
 

Tonguç Bodur is a graphic and web designer who hails from Istanbul. Since 2015, he has been developing and publishing video games. His list of titles is lengthy and includes The Hunting God, Nephise Begins, Bottle, and Drizzlepath: Glass. Most of his games are described as “walking simulators” in which the player takes an exploratory walk through a beautiful landscape while a story is narrated.

His latest release, Bottle: Pilgrim, follows this model. You begin at the top of a mountain and hike down to the beach below. During the trek, the hiker’s story is told in the form of 1st person narrative. It is a tale of personal loss, tragic mistakes, and an act of atonement.  As in real life, this man cannot change the past but he can alter the course of his future.

The voice-acting is well done and easy on the ears. The narration is accompanied by soft piano music and the omnipresent sound of footsteps (crunch… crunch… crunch...).

A Long Walk  
 

Bottle: Pilgrim is the first game I’ve played that is a pure walking simulator, and it feels somewhat like an illustrated audio-book. The game is divided into four chapters, with three “flashback” interludes. The chapters take you on the walk down the mountain while the interludes take place in the hiker’s memory. Each chapter has 5 items to find (coconuts, umbrellas, books, or flotation devices) but none is actually used. Instead they are simply located and counted towards Steam Achievements. Evidently, I was not paying enough attention because I did not find all five of anything and my personal Steam Achievements for this game are nothing to brag about.

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During your trek, there are 3 radios which require batteries. Once batteries are found, a personal message can be heard on each radio. In the third interlude there is a “hidden object” style search that requires you to find 12 pieces of firewood in a large winter landscape. My sense of direction failed me entirely in this segment and I did quite a bit of walking in circles, looking for wood. To assist the player, a piece of “floating wood” appears as a visual cue when you get close to collectible piece of firewood.

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In terms of game mechanics, you can use the standard WASD keys with the mouse to move and turn. To keep one’s hands from getting tired, the “Q” key activates an automatic walking mode. This allows you to continue moving forward (without pressing keys), using only the mouse for changing direction.

When you first load Bottle: Pilgrim, you are warned that “This game saves as you progress through chapters.” This means that the smart player stops only after finishing a chapter or interlude. Stopping anywhere before the end of a segment means restarting that segment from the beginning. Grrr…

The Bottle  
 

Without going too deep into spoiler territory, Bottle: Pilgrim addresses a man’s struggle with alcohol and the consequences of his descent into the bottle. Although this is an emotionally charged topic, the narration is very detached and matter-of-fact. The hiker tells his story of personal loss in the same tone that one might expect if he were talking about a fishing trip. As a result, I did not make an emotional connection or feel much empathy for the character.

What I found most intriguing about Bottle: Pilgrim was the unspoken story that was told through visual metaphors (which I assume were intentional). The game opens with an easy downhill walk as the hiker starts his narrative. As he begins to describe the unraveling of his personal life, the trail gets steeper and darker. There is a fence that separates him from a beautiful open area with deer playing. He finds himself at the edge of a cliff. Towards the end, he is hiking in the dark. His arrival at the beach occurs as he tells us about the turning point in his life. Stepping off the dark trail into open space and light made me think of the old proverb which reminds us that “the darkest hour is just before the dawn.” No matter how dark our personal journey becomes, we can change our direction and choose a path of forgiveness and redemption.

If you enjoy the “walking simulator” experience, Bottle: Pilgrim is a visually stunning place to hike. It is relaxing and requires little effort on the part of the player other than to “sit back and enjoy the walk.” However, if you are looking for a more interactive and “game-like” experience, you may want to look elsewhere.

 
Beautiful scenery with pleasant sound track for those who like walking simulators
+ Serious story that emphasizes the resiliency of the human spirit
 
There is not much to do in this game but walk
- Although dealing with a sensitive topic, the narration did not lead this player to empathize or connect with the main character
 
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 

 

System Requirements

MINIMUM Windows:
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7 or higher 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, AMD Athlon 64 X2 2GHz

Memory: 6GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GT 750 Ti 2 GB or AMD RADEON HD 7850 2 GB
DirectX: Version 10
Storage: 7GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX-compatible Sound Card with latest drivers 
Additional Notes: This game needs all Windows updates installed
Specials from Digital Download
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