The Pathless doesn’t have much interest at all in telling you what to do or what anything is. It’s very much the sort of game that throws you in and expects you to learn by doing. And this works! But in case you’d rather just be told instead of having to figure it out yourself, then this beginner’s guide has got you covered. I’m going to be breaking down what your main goals are going to be, what everything means, and why you should care about the extras.
Your goal in each of the plateaus in The Pathless is very simple. When you turn on your spirit vision after acquiring the mask that unlocks it, you’ll see towers that are highlighted in red. You want to interact with each of these in order to face the plateau’s boss. You’ll do this by getting metal plates that you can place at the top of the towers that clear corruption away. You can spot places that give you metal plates by looking for red barriers that are very noticeable even without spirit vision active. These all require you to solve some sort of puzzle or activate a mechanism in order to remove the barrier. Immediately after you do this, the plate will be yours.
Each plateau has a certain number of these to collect and you don’t need them all. To fight the boss, you only actually need to collect enough to activate all the towers in the area. But there’s a very good reason to collect them all. In the boss fight location, there will be a tall monument with blank spaces to interact with. After beating the boss, you can place the plates in this monument, which will call forth the cleansed spirit of the boss you just fought. Following them will reward you with a nifty bonus that is generally well worth the effort.
Take a look around
But there’s no map in The Pathless, so you can’t just plot a course to the next plate and grab it. You have to find it the old-fashioned way. This can be kind of tricky, but it works as long as you’re patient and observant. When you go into spirit vision, most things are blue, save for points of interest. Towers that you need to activate glow red and gusts of wind that take you to other plateaus are gold. But blue places will pulse red in spirit mode and this means that there’s something to find in that specific location.
There are really only two reasons for a place to pulse red: either it has a plate or you can find yellow gems there. Yellow gems will grant you an additional flap while you’re gliding in The Pathless and can be found all over. Some are out in the open, some are hidden and require you to solve a puzzle, and some are in containers. They come in tiny form where they’re hardly worth anything and in the much rarer large form where you’re rewarded with half of the gem bar getting filled. You get additional flaps for each boss you beat so some players might not be too keen on searching all of these out. Some of the ways you solve puzzles can be surprisingly silly, so pay attention and try some stuff out and see what works.
As for movement, you have an energy bar that governs how much you can run. Naturally, if it’s empty, you can’t run at all. There are red targets all over the world in The Pathless and shooting them gives you some energy. What’s more, if you’re running while you shoot one, you get a quick burst of speed. If you’re in the air when you shoot one, you do an air dash. They’re useful for making jumps across gaps and for catching up with spirits.
I’ve got my eye on you
Speaking of spirits, uncleansed plateaus have large red domes in them. These will impede your movement and can take away some of your yellow gems if you’re not careful. When you get near these domes, they start to reach and will expand if you don’t leave quickly enough. If you get caught in the ensuing blast, you’ll get teleported somewhere and the corrupted spirit animal will start tracking you down. If it sees you while you’re moving, it hits you and you’ll lose gems. Your goal here is to sneak past it by hiding behind any objects or standing still while it’s looking at you in order to reach a designated point. If you get there without getting spotted, you’ll go back to the normal world. Similarly, getting spotted and hit sends you back regardless.
But you don’t want to lose any yellow gems in The Pathless. Therefore, it’s better to explore and grab a bunch of gems after you’ve cleansed the plateau, as there won’t be anything to threaten you. But you can easily skip these sections if you don’t feel like bothering with them. Just wait until you see the dome start expanding. When that happens, just manually save and reload that manual save or select continue on the main menu. The spot should reset when you do this, letting you explore in peace.
Keep in mind that your character doesn’t have a life bar and doesn’t actually take damage from anything. You can jump off the tallest place you see and you’ll be fine when you land. Therefore, don’t be afraid to be as reckless as you’d like when exploring areas in The Pathless. It can be time-consuming if you’re hoping to 100% the game but just be patient and look for spots of red among the blue while using spirit vision. Getting to the top of a tall building with a wide view of your surroundings is the best thing you can do. And don’t get distracted by the red symbols signifying other plateaus. Those are for later.
That’s all the advice I can think of. With all that in mind, you shouldn’t be too surprised by anything The Pathless throws at you. Just remember to pet the Eagle Mother after you’re in a corrupted area. She won’t be normal until you do.