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Areia: Pathway to Dawn

Areia: Pathway to dawn is a fascinating adventure that takes you through the different stages of enlightenment. A relaxing experience combined with unique gameplay. A journey like no other. Engage yourself with the mysterious existence of your Self and the world around you. Create paths and solve puzzles with a fluid and straightforward game mechanic. Discover different realms as you venture into the unknown. Collect the fragments of your past, and uncover the meaning behind your existence. Immerse yourself into relaxation with our handcrafted visuals and soundtracks. Areia: Pathway to dawn is an adventure to be discovered and felt with your deepest emotions.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Overview
Areia: Pathway To Dawn is an exploration game with puzzle elements, set in a surreal and abstract environment heavily influenced by Indian folklore, while also Buddhist and Induist mythology references. Players impersonate an abstract character without a clear objective to follow except getting at the end of each scenario, either through classic platforming, puzzles, or the use of various creation powers to shape terrain.
On the good side, this title has a definitely unique art style, though not entirely original as idea, as it's clearly inspired to Journey as far as style is concerned. Beautiful vistas and otherworldly scenarios are regular while playing Areia, even without a high level of detail, the game definitely manages to impress visually. The indirect narration story, is purposefully vague and every player will interpret it differently, which is one of the main points of this whole journey: be different for each individual. The puzzle segments and terrain altering powers contribute in giving some variety, and avoid the experience from getting excessively linear or stale. The additional presence of collectibles in the environment gives players something else to do apart from following the main flow, with some of them very hard to get.
On the negative side, I felt like Areia could be much more enjoyed by someone with a cultural background that enables deeper understanding of the references and topic used in the game, as Areia doesn't explain any of it to players. For sure, people familiar with Buddhism, Induism or generally of Indian background, will probably understand this game a whole lot better than the average Joe. This is a negative point because instead of using a completely made-up lore, the game uses real-world lore so to speak, and therefore limits the understanding people can have, depending on their background. The puzzles are quite simple and do not pose much challenge, some more complex enigmas, optional even, would have pleased puzzle fans and added something more.
Overall, Areia is a good exploration / puzzle game that offers a unique setting and art style, but also could be fully understood only by those with the right cultural background. It took me 3 hours to finish the game and also get all the collectibles I was able to, for a price of 7,50€ and no replay value, I can suggest getting this game at full price only to fans of the genre or people who have particular insight into the culture the game refers to, to everyone else I would instead suggest waiting for at least a few euros of sale to get their money's worth..
Rating:
Decent
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Pros & Cons
🔵 Pros
+ Unique, impressive art style capable of creating truly surreal landscapes to traverse.
+ Good soundtrack and audio effects that enhance immersion.
+ Presence of collectibles, puzzles and platforming to vary the "walking simulator" experience.
🔴 Cons
- The game can only be fully understood with the right cultural background.
- Resolutions above 1920x1080 need manual game file editing to be enabled.
- High resource usage for the relatively simple graphics, sign of lacking optimization.
In-Depth Breakdown
🎮 Gameplay Analysis
The gameplay of Areia is divided into Exploration and Puzzles.
Exploration is performed on foot, and from some point onwards, with the aid of terrain-shaping powers, allowing your character to absorb water and release it to create mud ramps to traverse obstacles like gaps and pitfalls, or make bridges out of sand in specific spots. Falling into deep water or pitfalls will respawn you at the last solid ground place you have been, there is no real death to speak of, just some backtracking at worse. There are some collectibles of sorts to gather at times, but their purpose remains a mystery, as all they do is displaying the location of the other similar ones in the world. In order to advance, there is some freedom of movement and path choice, but in general the game is linear and doesn't allow players to "skip" parts of it even if they would find a way, like by making particularly extreme jumps.
Puzzles are about connecting platforms of the same color, using your own character as a medium, without crossing the flux of platforms with each others. They are quite simple and never really become a challenge, anyone with basic experience in puzzle games should solve them without trouble. solving puzzles unlocks environmental transformations that often allow to proceed and get to additional collectibles, if one wishes.
🔩 Technical Analysis
PC Specs: RTX2080Ti, Ryzen 3900X, 32GB RAM DDR4
The game doesn't have any performance or technical problems while playing, and runs well on this configuration in 1440p. It has to be noted that the maximum supported resolution in the options is 1920x1080 (1080p), to make it run in 2560x1440, specific game files need to be modified. Also, I have noticed a high GPU and PC resource usage for a game that has relatively simple geometry and effects for today's standards, a sign of optimization issues.
Final Thoughts
Areia is definitely a suggestive, but also rather short narrative game, that has good style but sadly can only be understood in full by people with specific cultural backgrounds.
This product was reviewed using a free key provided by the Developers

Review from Steam

»Pain gently dissolves as peace solidifies
No time is lost when joy stands nearby«
TL;DR
Areia: Pathway to Dawn is a visually stunning journey through the different stages of enlightenment that intends to evoke a range of (mostly positive) emotions. It uses very simplistic story-telling and gameplay, coupled with one of the most gorgeous art-styles I know and heavy inspiration from both Buddhism and Hinduism and therefore has a huge spiritual undertone. It also takes a lot of cues from what made the PSN exclusive game Journey as massively successful as it was and manages to feel like a spiritual successor to that masterpiece in many ways, establishing itself as one of the few existing games in the "Journey-like" subgenre. I wouldn't say it's quite as good as Journey but it's pretty damn close.
Lock the room, turn off your phone and play with headphones on to lock out the stress and hectic of the world for a bit.
🎮 Gameplay
Gameplay is simple and mostly self-explanatory. You walk/jog through the world, regularly solve small, simple puzzles that gradually grow more complex but never excessively difficult and shape and reshape the world around you by doing so. At a certain (early) point in the game, you acquire a terrain shaping ability that allows you to build temporary towers and/or bridges that you need to progress. Additionally there are optional cairns or other Zen constructions throughout the world where you can sit down to meditate. If you also include the jump, you have a total of three keys + movement + camera — and the game doesn't need more than that.
📖 Story / Presentation
The "story"/plot of the game is presented in a very minimalist way. You're thrust into the surreal setting of the world without a word and the camera, architecture and landmarks naturally guide you along the right way. Once again, this feels very Journey for me.
Where this differs from that game is in its Buddhist and Hinduist inspiration and for some people this might pose a slight problem: While few of us have an extensive knowledge of the religious, spiritual and cultural values, symbolism and references, most will at least vaguely recognize the Indian-looking imagery. Whereas Journey had created its own identity and was only really recognizable as "fantasy", Areia evokes feelings associated with Indian culture. Whereas Journey conveyed its spiritual plot without a word and was all the better for it, Areia will leave some scratching their heads, longing for explanations to the symbolism.
Perhaps this game would benefit from some sort of Glossary or Journal that procedurally unlocks new entries as you progress through the world.
Update:
In response to my all the player-feedback, the developer is working on a way to incorporate this kind of information to a "New Game+" mode.
🎼 Soundtrack
The score in Areia perfectly complements the emotional atmosphere the visuals achieve, ranging from unintrusive ambient melodies to fully vocalized songs that once more evoke an Indian / Oriental flair. Sadly, at least for me, the game tends to stutter for a brief moment whenever a new track is loaded.
To the developers:
Release the Soundtrack as low(!)-prized DLC - I'm sure some would love it for their meditation playlist.
Update:
Soundtrack allegedly coming to Steam for free soon.
💻 Graphics / Art-style
The art-style of this game is amazing. It delivers on its promise to be a relaxing, spiritual experience and makes it look easy. Everything - from the colors used, the way the sand glistens in the sun to the clever use of Film Grain to enhance sandstorms and more - contributes to an atmospheric journey like no other. Much like in the gameplay department, the devteam at Glip Studio clearly took notes on what made Journey stand out without creating a straight up rip-off.
All that isn't to say that Areia is without its flaws. The game currently doesn't natively support resolutions higher than full-HD (although editing the game's Unreal Engine configuration files can do the trick), and some of the animations aren't as smooth as I'd wish. Sometimes (though mostly in the beginning when slowly climbing uphill on the dunes) the protagonist seems to be floating in a different direction than where he's pointing.
💰 Business Model
Classic:
Buy the game, play the game.
No paid DLCs, items, lootboxes.
📋 Conclusion
If you enjoyed Journey or always wanted to get it but lacked the SONY console to play it on, this is definitely a game for you. The art-style is similar but unique, the ambiance is as strikingly powerful and the game doesn't feel like a straight up rip-off in the slightest. It took exactly the right lessons from Journey's success and offers enough new things to forge its own identity. It's a tranquil experience that will put you in a peaceful mood if you let it. It's a rather short experience (~3 hours to complete) but one worth replaying every now and then for the "therapeutic" effect if not by much else.
So yes, I definitively recommend Areia: Pathway to Dawn - at least to this person!
Post Scriptum
With this being the first game I reviewed that feels like a true spiritual successor to SONY's exclusive title, I'd like to coin the term "Journey-like" to define this game and any that might come in the future. If you want to support me in establishing the term, add "Journey-like" to the game's tags on the Store Page. 😉
This product was reviewed using a free key provided by the developer.
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Review from Steam

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Areia: Pathway to Dawn is an allegorical adventure that is clearly influenced by Journey with some platforming and some puzzles/pathways. There is clearly more to this game if you understand the background context of the game, but this is not necessary to play in any way. The game is fairly short and would take somewhere around 3 hours to complete. I did some backtracking and had some other unexpected time delays and still finished right around the 4-hour mark.
It's an explosion of colors calmed by serene musical tones. The meditative atmosphere is preserved throughout the game. Take from the game whatever you get out of it, and I have a feeling that everyone would get a different feel by the nature that it's completely open to interpretation, especially if you are an ignorant of the context, as I am. All I see is a world in a world in a world. I am taught by this game that the powers of mother nature can be both magnificent and malevolent. I am curious as to what you see.
The controls are going to feel a bit clunky at first and the fact that the game just throws you into the middle of the game world with no instructions or sense of direction only makes it worse. But I got used to the few simple things to do around this game and it felt rather smooth after getting a hang of the rhythm of things.
There are some optional interactable objects in the world and I could not make heads and tails of what they were. I tried to get to as many of them as I could, but other than having the option to sit down and meditate around these small objects or to tap into an old and lingering memory, I could not tell what they did for the game. I assume some of the achievements are attached to accessing all of them. I only got 4/12 achievements upon beating the game.
This game feels incomplete, and the ending felt kind of rushed into a "To Be Continued" screen. So I do hope that the game will see a content expansion at some point to make it feel more whole. There wasn't much gratification from completing the current version of the game.
The platforming-heavy aspect of moving around this rather large world does seem a bit cumbersome as well. Aside from being occasionally stuck at a juncture with a small puzzle-based impasse that doesn't take too long to figure out, it's mostly a jump, jump, and jump some more game.
Overall this is a pretty good game with some flaws. It is short and sweet, though it does have its tedious moments. If you feel like sparing a few dollars on this experience, I would say go ahead. It's on sale at launch during its first week at 15% off base price of $9.99 US.
Controls
Gamepad recommended. Takes a while to get used to the controls.
Graphics
Beautiful atmosphere and vibrant colors. A few different simulated time-of-day and weather patterns to give different lighting conditions throughout the game.
Music & Sounds
Very meditative and calming throughout.
Audience
Probably would please a limited audience who really get into the feel of the game. The puzzles are too easy, the game is too short, there isn't any action, the controls initially feeling clunky are all going to drive some people away.
Pricing
Knowing that it's about 3 hours long, I am not sure how I feel about the base price of $9.99 US. For the experience will be worthwhile to some and not to others.
Conclusion
To me, Areia: Pathway to Dawn is a graphical recreation of the many differing and turbulent states of mind. Taken as a whole, it's rather an experience. While the price might a little high and it has its own flaws, I would still recommend it to my friends as a package of experience.
Overall score 7/10
I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.

Review from Steam

Areia: Pathway to Dawn
A relaxing, immersive, slightly perplexing journey, through a beautiful landscape sprinkled with light platforming and puzzles.
First Impressions
First, I want to say that this is more than a walking simulator. Although it contains many attributes associated with these types of games there are enough extra elements to class this as a platformer and/or puzzler. Although not good enough to stand out as an example of a good platformer or puzzler they are welcome additions to the walking simulator genre. Areia is more of an experience than a serious puzzle or platform game.
The game is incredibly immersive, especially with headphones, and the soundtrack is amazing. Full of relaxing chimes, sitar and Indian influences, you’d be forgiven to think that you’d just stepped into a meditation class by accident.
The gameplay is rather simple, but everything is done to a high standard. Graphics look nice, sound effects and music are sublime, and the controls are fluid and easy to master.
The story is a little confusing and open to interpretation. There are obvious influences with Hinduism and Sikhism among others. A lot of the symbolism you will recognize including Buddhas and shapes associated with this. It would benefit you to know the path to enlightenment and what each stage means but it’s not necessary. You will still get a satisfying and relaxing experience from this title. Even without knowledge of the religion, there were still references that I recognized including the balance of nature, bettering oneself spiritually and the essence of water bringing life, so you won't be completely perplexed.
I really enjoyed the game. I found it hypnotic and atmospheric. Although I wouldn’t necessarily want to listen to Indian music at home, I found the 4 hours to be a nice change of pace and an interesting experience.
If you are a fan of walking simulators, then you will relish the extra elements involved. It is probably a little too easy for platform and puzzle fans if that is all you are after, but if you just want an immersive, relaxing and spiritual bite sized adventure then I would highly recommend.
Story
The story is heavily influenced by Indian culture and will be incomprehensible to most I would imagine. There is obviously a spiritual journey unraveling with different chapters representing beliefs associated with Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism.
For example, the first area is called Naraka which in their religion is a place of torment. Other areas include Preta, the Sanskrit name for a supernatural being and Tiryagyoni which describes rebirth as an animal. The different chapters represent the path to enlightenment.
Whether we reach the goal is dubious as at the end of the game we get a “To be continued” message. I guess we are only halfway there!
Gameplay: 🕹️
You are on a journey and will be running through different environments trying to get to the next chapter of enlightenment.
There are very light platforming and puzzle elements to the game. Initially, you will be running through desert like environments struggling up sand dunes and sliding down them trying to find a way out.
Later in the game you get the ability to build bridges to traverse large gaps and heights by harnessing the energy of water. Your energy levels are indicated by the cloak on your back and once the levels deplete, the bridge collapses.
Finding your path is key, and often you will have to work out a route considering energy levels. Sometimes you will need to take a route via water to replenish your energy. **Top Tip** You can jump before and after you start using your bridge power to reach extra long distances.
Other puzzles involve joining streams of different coloured lights together without crossing paths. They aren’t particularly difficult once you get the hang of the mechanics. There is no tutorial in the game so there is the possibility of getting stuck on the first puzzle. They do increase in difficulty, with the number of light streams increasing and have more complicated paths to solve.
Towards the end of the game you get the ability to build permanent gold bridges which also act as catalysts to grow new paths, revealing new areas of exploration.
Although the game is quite linear, there are opportunities to explore and find hidden extras. There are platforms representing different colours which you can find and meditate on. I managed to find all of them. There are about six or seven to locate and some of them are well hidden and will add an hour to gameplay.
After you complete the light puzzle, there are urn like objects you can find and meditate at revealing a ghostly figure symbolizing something. All these are related to achievements you can earn.
There are some more screenshots here explaining gameplay:
Sound: 🎵
The sound is one of the highlights of the game and is stunning listening through headphones. You can see why The Beatles were influenced by such dulcet tones. Along with the soundtrack there are excellent sound effects portraying strong winds, lightning and thunder along with realistic noises of travelling through sand and water.
Graphics: 📺
The graphics, although minimalistic, were vibrant and represented the spiritual vibe well. The main character was curiously compelling, and his movements looked fluid and attractive. I particularly liked the weather effects.
Conclusion
If you enjoy walking simulators you will love this. It is a great example of the genre but has added elements of puzzling and platforming. Although never difficult, it does require a bit of thought in some areas.
Mostly I will remember Areia for the relaxing and immersive journey into Indian culture, and although I did not understand it fully, I still enjoyed the experience and would recommend it.
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Review from Steam

This is a beautiful light platformer with a touch of a walking simulator. A relaxing and immersive game with a heavy spiritual overtone to it with Hinduistic and Buddhist influences. It reminded me of Ancient Knowledge and other reviewers have mentioned Journey which is on my wishlist.
This is not a walk in the park as you have to work your way through different environments and challenges on your way to enlightenment. That sounds really heavy, but the game is quite light and enjoyable.
Music is lovely with Indian overtones to it, but it did wear thin after a while. I only got half of the achievements despite going back in to hunt for them. Dunno where they were?!
If you're looking for something unusual...this is it. Highly recommend. 8/10

Review from Steam

Areia: Pathway to Dawn
Areia is a 2,5-3 hours long adventure with a relaxing gameplay. It looks like a walking simulator but actually it's much closer to a very easy to play puzzle-platformer.
Game tells a story about samsara wheel of life - you may read what it is before playing to better understand what's happening (there's a decent amount of symbolism + don't expect any in-game explanations)
Game looked very linear and straightforward until very last level but apparently there's more to discover - I unlocked only 4/12 achievements during my first playthrough (I intentionally skipped at least one area in last zone).
The majority of playtime you do simple platforming with some easy puzzle-ish elements. Music is nice and fits really well but gets a bit repetitive over time.
Level design is good - you always know where to go and what to do + you don't suffer from any technical flaws.
Talking about negative aspects - replayability is not about Areia in my opinion. It may be not as linear as I thought, but replaying whole game to discover this - no, thanks.
Not consistent quality of visuals -- sometimes environment looks beautiful, sometimes mediocre + it was ugly a couple times. FPS drops happened a couple times for no good reason.
You HAVE to be in a right mood to enjoy it, especially during first hour when gameplay is just too simple.
All in all, it was a nice experience for one playthrough. 7/10
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Review from Steam

This is basically "The Journey: Indian edition"
There isn't much to say here, acually. On first sight you can see that this game is HEAVLY inspired by "The joruney".
Now mind you, it has some pretty anoying flaws, but for such a low price it's really not a bad game.
+ Beautifull music and visuals
- Launches VR.... for some reason
- Bad optimization on some parts
- Linear path through the game
- The puzzles (at least the amount that i did) aren't really that challenging.
- The intro section could be a bit shorter

Category
Score


Gameplay
4.5/10


Visual/music
8/10


Technical
6/10


Overall score
7/10