Amanita Design (opens in new tab), the makers of Machinarium and the Samorost series, have released a quirky new adventure game, seemingly without warning. (Surprise! Isn't it nice when a game is just out instead of preceded by four months of trailers?) It's called Pilgrims (opens in new tab), it's available now, and having played it this morning I can confirm it's crafted with the same beautifully offbeat art and animation as Amanita's previous games.
You begin with a single character, a traveler, who wants to take a boat ride down a river. As you explore the map looking for an elusive bird to please the sleepy owner of the boat, you'll encounter puzzles to solve and a collection of other characters, some of whom can join you if you solve their problems. Every item and companion you collect is represented with a playing card, so you slowly assemble a little deck of adventure cards and characters to play in various situations.
What's really great is there are animations for every card you play in every situation—even if what you're doing isn't a correct solution to a puzzle. It's got the standard 'try using everything on everything else' trial and error system when you aren't sure how to proceed, but even when those desperate guesses don't work out, you still get to watch them not work. Using a lasso on a bear or a feeding worm soup to a witch might not get you closer to achieving your goals, but you still get to see what happens. It's much more satisfying that a simple "I can't do that."
There are also a ton of achievements you can earn just for just trying out weird card combinations, which gives you a reason to experiment freely and to play again once you've finished.
Pilgrims is set in a weird world full of rude priests, kings and princesses, reckless adventurers, hungry (and extremely picky) bears, and chuckling pond-goblins. It's short—it took me about an hour to complete it, though there are still loads of solutions I haven't tried—but it's wonderful. Pilgrims is available on Steam, GoG, Itch.io, or directly from Amanita (opens in new tab) for about five bucks.