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Game Info:

The Pilgrim's Progress
Developed By: Scott Cawthon
Published By: Hope Animation
Release Date: June 13th 2011
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Mode: Single Player
MSRP: $19.95

Thank you Hope Animation for sending us this game to review!

Hope Animation has released a Pilgrim’s Progress  3D animated film and a video game based on John Bunyan’s novel.  This novel was published in 1678 and is about a pilgrim named Christian who is on a journey to get cleansed of his sins and enter the celestial city.  Along his travels he’ll meet many friends and enemies that both encourage and discourage him.  Each of these characters is aptly named.  For example, when you talk to “Atheist” he will tell you that he does not believe in God or the existence of Heaven.  

The Pilgrim's Progress is a cross between a Platformer and a Role Playing Game.  There are some areas with jumping puzzles, and when it comes to fighting your enemies, the way you configure your character makes all the difference.  There's a strategy guide available that gives suggested builds for offense, defense, and making well rounded characters.  I took the well rounded approach but if I were to do it again, I would allocate more points into Spirit (health) and less into Prayer until the end.

Christian’s journey begins in his home town, the City of Destruction.  You must first walk to the pedestal where you get your objectives and experience points for completing various quests.  Your first mission is to warn the citizens of their impending doom.  To do this, you just have to walk up to a person and press the up key.  Once you have warned everyone, go back to the pedestal and gain your reward.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Simple controls; a unique twist on spiritual warfare.
Weak Points: No voice acting; a lot of backtracking for power-ups.
Moral Warnings: While there are a lot of battles, they are not violent since they are spiritual attacks, not physical.

When your experience bar on the bottom fills up, you will gain a level.  For each level you can allocate points in:

  • Guard – Defense
  • Prayer – Enables power-ups in battle
  • Wisdom – Protects you from enemy attacks
  • Zeal – Your speed in battle
  • Spirit – Health

For every five levels you can put a point in the following Focus Points:

  • Holiness-Increases the damage per second to your Holiness attack
  • Blessings-Reduces the cool down for using Blessings
  • Preparedness-lets you start a battle with an additional 10 points of your base stats
  • Thankfulness-Allows you to earn more experience from enemy battles

As you can see, there’s a lot of ways you can configure your character.  While you cannot change your base stats, you can reset and reconfigure your focus points.  When I was grinding to power myself up for the final battle, I had all my focus points in Thankfulness, and changed it up again for the last boss.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls 5/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 7.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
+3 for delivering a good moral lesson 

The bosses and enemies can be quite challenging at times.  Fortunately, their names usually help in discovering their spiritual weakness. A notable example is the enemy “Shame” who is vulnerable to Grace.  To pick a fight, you simply have to walk into an enemy and the battle sequence will begin.  The turns in this game are determined by whose speed bar gets filled the fastest.  Both Christian and the enemies have buffs to increase their speed.

For the typical enemy, you will be fine in using just your resist skills.  When I hear resist, I think defense, but in this game, resist is your offense!  Your attacks are Faith, Truth, Promise, and Grace.  The enemy will fight back by attacking your Spirit (health) or by debuffing your powers.  To restore your powers, you have to go into the Healing menu and choose the appropriate counter measure.  If you find the battle challenging, you can look into the Pray for menu to pray for Spirit, Strength, Protection, Regeneration, or Wisdom.  The higher your prayer stat is, the better chance of your prayer being answered.  For boss battles, I recommend going into the Blessings menu to invoke your Holiness attack, increase your Zeal (speed), Authority (strength), or Peace & Assurance (defenses).  Be warned that the blessings take a while to recharge and use again.

The enemy’s attacks have some animation to them but they’re not as spectacular as many popular RPGs out there.  The enemies themselves have a lot of detail, and for the most part their movements are just fine, but I found some of them rather obnoxious.  Even though this is a 2D game, the characters are pre-rendered 3D models.  The environments are wonderfully detailed and look just like the movie.  When you’re walking in meadows you’ll see butterflies fluttering about and rays of sunshine beaming down.  The NPCs are nicely done, though you’ll sometimes see the exact same models next to each other.

Talking to the NPCs is all text based.  I think voice acting would have been a nice addition to this game.  The battle music is nice and you’ll hear it a lot.  The boss battles have their own music too.  When you’re not engaged in spiritual warfare, you’ll hear ambient noises.

Even though there is fighting in this game, I had no problems playing it in front of my kids.  They enjoyed the colorful graphics and battle scenes.  There’s a wonderful story of salvation and redemption being told here.  If you’re like me and not familiar with the novel, check out the movie from Hope Animation.  Even without the movie, this game stands up well enough on its own.  It’s definitely one of the better Christian games out there.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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