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The Pathless Switch review – on the right path

In our The Pathless Switch review, we take a look at whether or not you should spend your hard earned money on this version of the game

The Pathless Switch review key art of the Eagle Mother and The Hunter skidding across the floor

Our Verdict

The Pathless remains a solid game from its engaging story and pretty setting to the enjoyable gameplay, though it can get repetitive at times. Still, a solid performance on Switch means we highly recommend you pick it up on the hybrid console

On November 12, 2020, The Pathless hit iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. From the offset, I could feel a certain intrigue for this game, and as I happen to be one of the lucky few to own a PS5 on day one, I had to buy Annapurna Interactive’s game. Heck, the prestige of the publisher speaks for itself.

I adore The Pathless. It’s an adventure of mystery and wonder in a land that’s nothing short of a pleasure to explore. Yet, throughout my time with it, there’s always been one screaming thought – why isn’t this gem on Nintendo Switch? Luckily for me and other lovers of the hybrid console, The Pathless is available on Nintendo Switch now. Better still, I happen to have a copy.

To give you the short version, this port thrills me to no end. But I suspect that you’d prefer the long version of this review, so let’s dive in.

If there’s one thing I love about this game it’s the lack of a map. Now, I’m a huge RPG lover, and that means I usually love a map. Yet in a world like The Pathless, I thrive on the lack of guidance. Instead, the game features a mechanic known as spirit vision, which forces you to acknowledge the world around you – to take in its beauty, its mystery, and its elegance.

The Pathless Switch review - The Hunter jumping through the air aiming her bow

To offer further insight into the feature, shortly after your arrival on the island, you stumble across a spirit mask, and this is what allows you to discover the world’s secrets. To me, it’s innovative when a game searches for different ways to guide players rather than rely on a simple map that tells you how to get from point A to B. Shortly after you discover the mask, you meet Eagle Mother, your companion for the rest of the game.

This is where the story truly begins, as a curse threatens to end her life, but you manage to cleanse her, much to the dismay of the Godslayer, an evil entity that’s responsible for the abhorrent happenings in these lands. Well, after he leaves, Eagle Mother beseeches you to save her four children, all of which are also under the influence of the Godslayer’s curse.

Should you fail to help this desperate mother in her time of need the world will end, as that ghastly villain accomplishes his dream of destroying it. Luckily, you’re ready to travel these lands to cure Eagle Mother’s children. In order to help you on your quest, the once-powerful spirit reincarnates herself as a regular eagle. She helps to guide you in this world, so I highly suggest you pay extra close attention to your surroundings, as you can collect crystals to upgrade her abilities.

The Pathless Switch review - The Hunter flying through the air with Eagle Mother

To your own credit, as The Hunter, you’re a master archer that’s at one with your bow and, trust me, that’s a lifesaver. Not only that, but The Pathless features many puzzles, and more often than not, your bow is the answer to the problem in front of you. From a gameplay perspective, I can certainly appreciate the change in pace that The Pathless offers you on your quest.

However, I do also need to mention that curing Eagle Mother’s children does get repetitive, as each area requires you to follow the same steps. You collect lightstones to activate obelisks to then combat the cursed spirits. Admittedly, it’s nice to see some variations in the puzzles, from moving objects to solving some tricky platforming, but that doesn’t take away from how repetitive things can get in the grand scheme of things.

Make no mistake, I still love this world and very much recommend you visit it, especially on Nintendo Switch. I could go on about how good the controls are, and how fluid movements feel, but you likely know all about that, given the game is more than two years old at this point. Still, I will say that the button layout is great and that it all feels smooth. It makes for a fun experience when you use the bow and arrow.

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So now for the answer to the more pressing question that you have – does The Pathless run well on Switch? Besides a couple of hiccups in terms of frame rates, yes, The Pathless performs well on the hybrid console. Does it look as good as it does on PS5? Of course not, but that’s not why you should play it on Switch anyway.

Instead, it’s the portability, and given the game works well in handheld mode, it’s safe to say that it’s worth a purchase to play on a commute. All in all, I still highly recommend the game to everyone, as there’s a fantastic story behind it, set in a beautiful world with stunning visuals. You just have to be willing to sacrifice the high-end graphics and smoothness that comes with next-gen consoles. To me, it’s worth it.

Should you want to see what other adventures are out there, you can take a look at our best Switch RPGs list.