There was a really long line to play Pyre. Supergiant Games has produced two adored titles in Bastion and Transistor, and I suppose that’s transformed the upstart studio into an undeniable force. You know you’re doing something right when people are happily buying your soundtracks on vinyl from your in-booth storefront.
Pyre is an action RPG presented through the framework of a sports game. Two teams of three fight over a neutral ball in the center of an isometric map. If you put the ball in the other team’s pyre, you reduce their flame by a certain threshold. Whoever extinguishes the opposing team’s pyre first wins. A tap of the X button let’s you pass the ball between teammates, if you hold down circle you can shoot a beam of energy which temporarily banishes enemies, and square lets you chuck the ball forward which will undoubtedly lead to some awesome Steph Curry moments. The best comparison I can make is a fast-paced 3-on-3 hockey overtime. It’s super high concept, which puts it right in line with the adventurous design docs of Supergiant’s other games. But honestly the thing that intrigued me most was the narrative. You’re found on the side of the road by a hulking, big-horned woman, a chucklehead dude, and a crossdressing, mustachioed dog. It’s the far-flung post-apocalypse, and the player-character is a cherished commodity because… they know how to read. That’s it. In this far-flung dystopia, literacy has taken on a mythic quality. Great stuff all around, and I can’t wait to see more.