The Pathless: Tips and strategies for gameplay – CNET

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There's a lot going on in The Pathless, but we'll tell you what you need to look out for. 

Annapurna Interactive

The Pathless, an epic mythical adventure game from Giant Squid and Annapurna Interactive, was one of the most anticipated games to hit Apple Arcade this year. The game brought a console-style experience to subscribers of the mobile gaming service, and is also available on the PS5, PS4, Mac and PC. (You can read CNET's full review of the game here).

In The Pathless, you play as the last Hunter, a veiled young woman with archery skills and an eagle as a companion, tasked with returning light to a cursed island inhabited by corrupt spirits. The game is packed with puzzles, hidden passages and rooms, collectibles, boss fights, secrets to uncover and places to explore. 

Here are a few tips to make the most of your gameplay. 

How to navigate successfully in The Pathless

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Getting a view from on high with the help of your eagle can show you where you should go next in the game. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

The Pathless has no map, navigation or fast travel features. Instead, you have free reign over where you want to start, and which puzzles you want to solve first. 

Try to climb to a high vantage point. This can be a challenge until you're able to get extra height with the help of your eagle. But once you've got a good vantage point, take note of where all three obelisks are. This can help you orient yourself while you explore. Some users on Reddit have even sketched rough maps of the area

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The Spirit Mask can highlight places of interest in red that might contain crystals, collectibles or Lightstones.

Shelby Brown/CNET

Use your Spirit Mask. Areas that flash red are places you should check out to find potential collectibles and puzzles to solve. 

Shoot the talismans. Shooting the talismans -- or floating targets -- for extra energy boosts can make a huge difference in covering ground faster when the game's worlds start getting bigger. As you progress, the different worlds offer special talismans specifically to help you navigate the terrain.

Bonus tip: You can't die in the game, so don't worry about making a mistake -- just have fun exploring and experimenting. 

How your eagle can help you

Your eagle companion in The Pathless can help you progress through the game, but be careful -- evil spirits will try to separate you.

Earn extra flaps for your eagle when you collect crystals from certain puzzles (check out lanterns, chests and crystals below). But your eagle can't help you when you're retrieving a Lightstone from a cursed monument. 

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Everyone needs a hug while they're trying to save the world. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

What your Spirit Mask can do

The Spirit Mask is the closest thing you'll get to a map or a system of clues. Wearing the mask highlights places of interest or importance in red. It will also help you find collectibles, crystals and puzzles faster. 

The Spirit Mask grants access to hidden rooms and passages. Walls with concealed spaces will have a blue glow, and you can walk through the walls while wearing the mask. There's usually a chest with crystals to be looted. 

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Glowing blue walls indicate hidden rooms and secret passages. Your Spirit Mask can help you access them.

Shelby Brown/CNET

How to cleanse the obelisks

There are three obelisks in every world within the game that must be cleansed before you can fight that world's boss. You can't miss the obelisks -- they're the tall, narrow structures with the glowing red tops. Your Spirit Mask will pick them up faster as the worlds get bigger. 

Cleansing an obelisk requires one or two Lightstones. After you have the Lightstones, make a beeline to the nearest obelisk. Before you panic about how you're going to get up there, know that there's a pulley system on the side of each one that you can use to get to the top.

Where to find Lightstones

Lightstones are the relics you must collect to restore light to the island and earn gifts from the spirits once you've rescued them. 

Lightstones are scattered across each level. If you have your Spirit Mask on, they'll appear as glowing orbs.

You'll usually need to solve a puzzle to release a Lightstone.

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Puzzles are everywhere -- even within the architecture of the island's ruins -- and your bow and your eagle will come in handy to solve them.

Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

In addition to the Lightstones needed to cleanse the obelisk, if you can find all the Lightstones in each area -- there are nine -- and return them to the arena where you fought that level's boss, you'll earn a gift from each spirit. These can be bonuses for speed, flight and more. 

Also, each level has a Lightstone located in a cursed monument -- it's the one that's ominously shrouded in creepy shadows. Your eagle can't help you solve this one. 

Where to find crystals

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Sometimes accessing a secret room or hidden passage will give you crystals. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

Collecting crystals earns extra flaps for your eagle, so you can fly higher. Here's where to look (some are easier to find while wearing the Spirit Mask):

  • Chests
  • Healing animals
  • Monastery, textile and bathhouse puzzles
  • Glowing yellow circles on the ground
  • Lantern, bell, fire lamp puzzles
  • Spirit statues
  • Agility puzzles: Timed butterfly races, jumping pillars and stone walking paths

Bonus tip: You'll lose crystals if the evil spirit spots you in the Red Storm.

What to know about Lore Messages and Stone Tablets

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Stone tablets and Lore give you more insight into the game's story. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

Lore Messages appear as floating blue orbs and can give you more insight into the game's story. They're like mini diary entries about the spirits, the Eagle Mother, the Pathfinder and the Godslayer. 

The Stone Tablets are similar to the Lore Messages but pertain more to the history of the island. The first tablet you find gives you your Spirit Mask. 

Boss battle tips

You'll fight four bosses on each level -- Cernos, Sauro, Nimue and Kumo -- before facing off against the Godslayer on the Floating Isle. 

The key to winning a boss fight is anticipating patterns and avoiding attacks. Again, you can't die in the game, so take your time. 

The beginning of each boss battle starts with a chase. The goal is to fire your arrows at the eye-shaped targets on the boss. The closer you get and the more targets you've hit, the more the boss will start to retaliate -- fire cannons, patches of fire, ground tremors, etc. Jumping and gliding is key to avoid these. Make sure to take advantage of the talismans so you can keep up. 

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Jumping, gliding and shooting the talismans are crucial to making it through a boss battle. 

Apple/ Screenshot by Shelby Brown/ CNET

The next phase is the arena fight. Watch for the attack patterns and try to anticipate what's coming. If you get knocked out of the arena, your progress in the fight resets. 

Red Storm tips

It's OK if you get caught in the storm, but it's inconvenient if you're trying to finish a puzzle or get to an obelisk. The goal is to make it back to your eagle without the cursed spirit spotting you. If you're seen, the spirit will attack you and you'll lose crystals. 

Here are some tips for avoiding and surviving the storm:

Take note of the routes the spirit takes when you're in the storm and plan your path around it. 

Stick to the borders of the storm and slowly make your way to the eagle. 

Find a place to hide. I had luck finding a place to hide inside -- like hidden rooms found with the Spirit Mask, underground spaces and fully enclosed rooms -- when the storm got close. It bought some time if I was working on a puzzle. 

If you have more tips on playing The Pathless, share them in the comments below. For more, check out every game you can play right now on Apple Arcade, and the best iPad games of 2020.

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