The horror queen is back, but once again without the horror! Today, we’re going to talk about a lovely new game called Signs of the Sojourner. Signs of the Sojourner is an indie RPG game with a twist. Instead of the normal/usual methods for dialogue and progression, everything is done through cards. Signs comes to us from Echodog Games.
So, what is Signs?
Signs of the Sojourner is a gorgeous narrative card game that explores relationships and communication. Although you do play as a person, your character is actually your deck. Your deck is a means to both reflect on your previous experiences, and to shape your relationships. You respond to each situation with the cards you’re dealt – taking the old phrase literally.
After the death of your mother, you take over her store. To keep it in business, you join a caravan route to acquire goods for the store. Along this journey, you discover new places and new people, all of which come with new experiences. This is all set in a world where travel is not easy in any way, and climate change has hugely impacted the quality of life. You can forge new friendships, new rivalries and connections, all done through the cards.
A beautiful world, ravaged by climate change
The animation style of this game is gorgeous, and the unfolding story is both beautiful and enlightening. In your hometown, the loss of your mother is felt by everyone. Early on, it becomes apparent how important your store is. Without it, the caravan route will skip over your town. This little store seems to be all the town has left to draw people in. With each person you talk to, a new layer of the story is revealed. This also helps to build on relationships of the past.
Through talking to a lady called Nadine, you learn more about places you heard about in your mother’s stories. Nadine runs the caravan route, and brings you along to all these new places. At first, she comes across a tad tough, but she’s a character easy to warm to.
What about the cards?
So, the dialogue options. This is where things get really interesting. To progress a conversation, you match the symbol to the previous card. If the card before ends with a circle, your next card needs to start with a circle. However, things don’t always work out, depending on the card you’re dealt, and the previous card played. Sometimes, you just don’t have a match. Some of the cards also have extra abilities. For example, there is a card that allows you to duplicate the last played card. This kind of thing can sometimes save you if you don’t have a match, but not always. Either way, it’s an oddly calming way to converse with someone. At later stages in each journey, there are also blank cards. They symbolise tiredness/home, and when you return to your own town, they are cleared from your deck. These cards CANNOT be matched.
Let’s be real for a second, how convenient would it be to just hand someone a card when you’re tired? No need for words, just a card that symbolises tiredness. That would go on my door.
But what do we think of Signs of the Sojourner?
As much as I love a good horror game, I love to be able to chill with games as well. Not something easily done when you expect the worst. Signs of the Sojourner ticks all of those chill vibe boxes for me. Although there is a distinct story to follow, it is so easy to relax while playing. The in-game soundtrack is very soft, definitely some nice easy listening. Pair that with the use of cards for dialogue, and you hit that cloud nine level of good vibes. Even when dialogue options didn’t go my way, I didn’t get annoyed or worried.
I would honestly recommend this game to anyone, especially to anyone who may need a little more escapism. I got to play this game during lockdown, before Ireland started any of the phased liftings of restrictions. By sticking on my headset and sitting down at the PC, I was able to just drift along in a whole new world. Although on the more simple end of things, Signs of the Sojourner captures something beautiful within its story. It’s an alternate version of the world, a version that could very easily come to fruition someday. Even with that underlying thought, it adds to the story so perfectly.
This is definitely a game I can see myself revisiting more than once.
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