Pyre is an amazing game! I haven’t been more thrilled by a game since the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Here’s why Pyre is one of the year’s best games.

You play as The Reader. But you’re not just any reader.

You start as a lowly illiterate character who’s banished from your home. As you proceed, you become stronger, wiser and more knowledgeable. You become a kind of VIP bookworm and you live among a vagabond tribe where literacy is of utmost importance. You’ve all been thrown out of your country. And you want to regain your freedom and return to the land you love. As you get pages from The Book of Rites, you explain its contents to your compatriots. You learn what freedom really means. Then, the action begins.

The sporty gameplay is so enjoyable!

The exciting brilliance of Pyre comes from The Rites, a series of quick games you can play your way. You can play The Rites as if the contest was basketball or you can play it like football. The upshot? You’re trying to get an orb (the ball) into a burning pyre (the goal). You can toss the orb from way downtown. Or you can simply run speed into the pyre, which won’t injure you. But it will take you a little time to respawn.

I could play the versus mode all day.

Since there’s a separate Versus mode, you can play The Rites to your heart’s content. No, it has no online play, certainly not yet. Because Supergiant Games always pays homage to gameplay of the past, you go at it with a friend on the couch. Also, online play is probably too complex for a small game studio of a dozen people. But if a lot of people buy it, who knows? Maybe they’ll add online multiplayer.

The alluring artwork recalls a famous artist of yore.

As you travel to exotic locations in a kind of cowboy-like covered wagon, you’ll be drawn to the beauty of the artwork. These lands are imaginary and full of doom and danger. It’s up to you to choose which characters are right for a particular battle. (I find the smaller characters are faster and more agile. They’re great for making a mad dash into the opponent’s pyre.)

It’s not just about teamwork. It’s about friendship.

As you read the text, you get to know your characters. You understand their personalities, their quirks and their back stories. At one point, when you have to choose who leaves, it can get a little emotional. You’ve worked together to defeat insulting enemies for so long. You feel like you’re losing a pal who’s really close — even though leaving means freedom for your friend. Check out the official stream above which tells you a lot more.

Pyre is pretty much the perfect game

Pyre is generally such a well-balanced game, it should be required playing for all gamemakers. But as a player, you don’t have to think about how it was made. Whether you’re rooting around inside the crazy covered wagon that can fly among the stars or talking with a winged being with attitude, you just want to keep on going to see what’s next. Even the acting and soundtrack is excellent. All that, in essence, is what makes it a great game.

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