The Pedestrian Review

Take a closer look at the next road sign you see, maybe you’ll notice them.

Take a walk down the street and you’ll see them. Driving to work you’ll pass them by. They’re always near – watching yet unmoving.

I’m, of course, talking about those little people on road signs that guide us every day. They tell us the difference between our gendered bathrooms or when it’s safe to cross to street. You’d never expect them to live a different life, jumping from sign to sign to get to their unknown destination. If you pick up The Pedestrian from developer Skookum Arts, you’ll get a closer look at these silent friends of ours.

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The Pedestrian is sure to pull you in right away. It’s similar to other side-scrollers that I’ve played in the passed, but the game design is something new and unique. You start off simple, learning the basics of movement, but then you’ll move on to real puzzles. As the player who controls both the person and the environment, you’re tasked with manipulating the “playing field” so that your character can move properly around it. For example, if there are three signs all with different doors and ladders, you’ve got to arrange the signs in such a way that the doors and ladders are connected so that your character can pass through them and climb them to get to the exit.

As you progress through The Pedestrian, things get a bit more complicated. Not only will you have to manipulate the environment, keeping the signs in the right place so that your character can go between them, you’ll also have collect keys to unlock doors, jump on and off moving platforms, move boxes, avoid lasers and more. While the puzzles do get a bit more complicated, I rarely found myself getting stuck for more than a few minutes. With a bit of trial and error, players shouldn’t have a problem getting through The Pedestrian in around six hours depending on their skill level.

The Pedestrian truly shines in its overall concept. It would have been easy to create a game where the player simply goes from left to right, solving puzzles along the way, like many games in the platforming genre. But the addition of being able to manipulate the environment and having that environment, in turn, move around as you walk through the signs, is a fantastic idea that makes The Pedestrian feel like something entirely new. Each environment is completely different and players will truly feel as though they’re moving about a bustling city.

While The Pedestrian’s concept caught my eye from the moment I watched the trailer, the puzzles in the beginning did feel familiar to many others in the genre. Pull a lever and a platform goes up; push a box to block a laser – these are all things we’ve done a thousand times before. But as the game progresses, players will be pleased to know that things will feel new. With the inclusion of different kinds of doors, electricity or sections of the game that require you to collect all the pieces before you can solve the puzzle, The Pedestrian gets very interesting indeed.

What I truly love about The Pedestrian is how inclusive it is for all kinds of players. While the puzzles grow in difficulty, they never feel impossible to beat or frustratingly complicated. Currently only available on PC, being able to play with both mouse and keyboard or controller is certainly a big plus, too. There are no guts, graphic violence, foul language or anything of the like so whether you’re a seasoned puzzle game pro, a beginner, a child or an adult, you should feel comfortable picking it up. Not to mention the gameplay is free of text or dialogue, so it can be understood and played by absolutely anyone.

I don’t usually jump towards puzzle games; I normally prefer things that are heavy on story, but I couldn’t resist taking a look at The Pedestrian once I saw its concept. I’m glad I did. The folks over at Skookum Arts have been working on this game for seven years starting with no knowledge of game development at all – and the hard work and time that went into it really shines through.

I’ve nothing but praise for The Pedestrian. Its fantastic concept shines through, but beautiful graphics and excellent, inclusive game design make it something quite special. If you enjoy platforming games and want something with a bit of a twist, you could do a lot worse than The Pedestrian.

The Pedestrian is available on PC.