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Video Game / Pathway

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The year is 1936 and Nazi activity is increasing in intensity by the day.
Tirelessly, they send their expeditions into the vastness of the deserts and the inhospitable mountains of the Middle East.
North Africa, Arabia - what could the armies of evil be looking for?
Codex - Introduction section

Pathway is a Turn-Based Tactics Roguelike released on April 11, 2019 on PC, Mac, and Linux, developed by Robotality and published by Chucklefish. The game consists in leading a team of adventurers in 1936's North Africa and Middle East, competing against Nazi Germany to prevent them to gain treasures. The story begins when the Non-Entity General recruits a team of adventurers to rescue a friend of him/her, Morten, who has been captured by the Nazis.

As a Roguelike, the game uses a procedurally-generated map made of nodes which effect is randomly chosen when you enter them (treasure discovery, combat, or just no effect), beside the nodes which effect is shown on the map (resting area, merchant...). Also, sometimes a node features a challenge which gives unique reward if one of your player characters has a specific skill (for instance, "intimidation" to force a captured Nazi to give information). Outside combat sequences, all is done through a Choose Your Own Adventure interface. You also need to manage your fuel and ammo supply.


The game has sixteen player characters available, though only six are playable at the start. The rest must be unlock by completing challenges (kill 100 Nazis, kill 5 enemies with a bleeding effect...). Party size ranges from 2 to 4.

The story is split in 5 campaigns ("adventures"); finishing one for the first time unlocks the next one. Experience levels, money, and loot are kept between campaigns. The first adventure happens on a single worldmap, while the other ones involve several of them.


This game contains examples of:

  • Achievement System: Earning trophies grants a reward that can be claimed ingame (fuel, experience, an item...). Those trophies are linked to the save profile; they can't be farmed for more rewards, but they are resetted and can be gained again if you create another save profile (of course, you'll start the game from scratch).
  • A.K.A.-47: Weapons have made-up names.
    • Pistols:
      • The Preussisch-Moser M1907 is a Mauser C96.
      • The Hastings Service Pistol is a Webley revolver.
      • The Steiner Pistole 34 is a Walther P38.
    • Assault rifles:
      • The Venner Automatic Rifle is an AK.
      • The Adler & Stahlknecht STG-34 is a StG 44.
      • The Zeisig Sturmkarabiner M18 is a M3 SMG (the "Grease Gun").
      • The Charleston M1 is a Thompson M1 without stock.
    • Sniper rifles:
      • The Willoughby .303 Ghillie is a scoped Lee–Enfield rifle.
    • Grenades:
      • The Hastings Bomb No. 23 is a Mills Bomb.
      • The Steiner Granate 1924 is a Model 1924 Stielhandgranate (the "Potato Masher").
      • The Preston Grenade is a Mk 2 grenade.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Never stated but implied at the end of the "Wrath of God" adventure: the eponymous Wrath of God is a superweapon found in a cave, in the middle of an alien-looking architecture including the hologram of a rotating planet Earth, but the nature of the artifact (or its surrounding) is never revealed.
  • Anti-Armor: The disintegrator weapon class inflicts more damages against armored enemies, and reduces damages against unarmored enemies.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Once a tactical encounter is over, the score screen has an option to automatically reload each weapon (proceed without choosing this option would require to manually reload each gun from the inventory screen to be sure to have fully loaded guns for the next encounter).
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can't have more than 2 party members at the start of the adventure. Random events in the adventures can add more party members, but you never can have more than 4 party members on the same time. Attempting to recruit someone with a full group opens a window when you can choose to leave someone behind.
  • Artistic License – Cars:
    • Jeeps in 1936 (historically, they started being sold in 1941). The player characters' party drive one to travel on the worldmap. They also show up in German camps.
    • Old jar of petroleum randomly found in ancient tombs can be used to refill the Jeep's fuel tank.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Egyptian-looking ruins show up in Morocco, Palestine, Syria...
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Outfits add a "protection" value which works as a life meter consumed first; some enemies have this, too. The protection doubles as the armour's life meter and must be replenished by repairing the outfit.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": "Bravery" is a Mana Meter which fuels weapons secondary attacks and a few other abilities.
  • Common Place Rare: You'll often fight small parties of gun-wielding Nazi mooks, but finding ammo in the post-battle looting screen is much less common than it logically should.
  • Continuing Is Painful: If all party members of the current adventure are downed, the player is taken back to the start menu. To start again, you keep the money, loot, and experience levels, but the downed party members are temporarily unavailable unless you can afford their medical bill. If you didn't do well, you have to start over with even less resources than what you have at the first try.
  • Distressed Dude: A few of the random events allowing to hire an adventurer during an adventure feature a group of Nazis interrogating a captured adventurer or holding them in a jail inside one of their bases. Choosing to free them from the Nazis starts a tactical encounter and winning it allows to get a new party member.
  • Emergency Weapon: Characters equiped with a firearm can also fight with their fists for a low damage attack, unless they carry a knife in their "item" slotnote , which allows to use a much more damaging melee attack.
  • Evolving Title Screen: At the game's start, the title screen shows the current party of adventurers from the last save resting in the scenery of the current adventure.
  • Going in Circles: This is one of the random events that can happen when travelling to a new node. It causes the loss of 1 fuel.
  • Global Currency: Ancient gold coins that can be found as loot or as random events are immediately added to the expedition money pool and then work as well as whatever currency you where carrying to buy fuel, ammo, or other supplies.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Mostly averted. Adventurers can only carry their gear (a weapon, a tool / secondary weapon, and an outfit) without having their own personal stash. The Jeep's inventory contains 10 slots, though some usable tools can stack. On the other hand, the Valuables bag is bottomless.
  • Informed Equipment: Not only the adventurers' sprites remain identic when you change their weapon and outfit, but several of them have starting outfit which don't even look like their ingame model
  • Level Grinding: Once an adventure is unlocked, it can be replayed as many time as you want. Replaying the shortest and easiest one, "A Friend in Need", with any combination of adventurers available, allows to level up a bit more party members. It's actually adviced to do this, or the random events which allow to recruit another character during an adventure would result in a low level adventurer joining a party during a high level adventure.
  • Limited Loadout: Each character can only carry three items in the same time: a main weapon, an "item" (can be a secondary weapon like a knife or grenades, a healing item, or a tool to repair outfits), and an outfit (serves as armour).
  • Mugged for Disguise: That's how the party obtains the Wehrmacht uniforms they then wear to infiltrate the German base while looking for Morten.
  • No Swastikas: When encountering Nazis, there are banners and insigna painted on their vehicles, but it looks like a broad white strip between two thin red strips, with a skull inside a white circle in the middle of the symbol, instead of the infamous plain-red-with-a-black-swastika-inside-a-white-circle-in-the-middle symbol.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Party members whose hitpoints get reduced to 0 and fail to be reanimated in time are removed from the current adventure but are merely sent to the hospital and become playable again after completing an adventure (or immediatly if you pay).
  • One-Word Title
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When searching for Morten, the adventurers infiltrate a German base while wearing stolen German uniforms and enter through the gate while driving a car (the narration mentions the gate was guarded by a bored sentinel who barely looked at them before opening). Note that available party members include women and non-Caucasian persons.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: You start with a limited pool of fuel and ammo (initially capped to 20 fuel and 60 bullets, the starting quantity depends on a difficulty meter), which (it's possible to buy increased cap). Travelling between two nodes on the worldmap consumes 1 fuel, and using guns consumes bullets. You can resupply by finding merchants if you're lucky enough (their stock is random, so they don't necessarily carry fuel and bullets), as result of random worldmap events, or as loot earned for winning a tactical encounter. There's also random events which consume more fuel than the 1 unit required to travel to the next node.
  • Retraux: A 2019 game with very pixelated, 2D, 16 bits-like graphics.
  • Secondary Fire: Each weapon class (save grenades) has one.
    • Pistols: "Double Shot", consists in firing twice on the same target.
    • Shotguns: "Shotgun Blast", shoots all targets inside a cone-shaped area.
    • Assault Rifles: "Burst Fire", shoots three adjacent squares on the same time.
    • Sniper Rifles: "Ambush", automatically shoots the first enemy inside the area who tries to to move or to attack. Nazi snipers have the same ability.
    • Disintegrators: "Meltdown", fires on a straight line and damages any enemy standing on the ray's trajectory (each successive hit reduces the damages inflicted to the next enemy).
    • Knives: "Bleed", inflicts a hemorrhage effect (Damage Over Time). The dog Donut has the same ability.
  • Shout-Out: In one of the random events, the adventurers unearth something which looks like a stargate.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The humble knife. Several characters can equip them as secondary weapons, and three have them as their primary weapon. While knives do require you to be adjacent to an enemy to kill them, they do good damage, never miss, require no ammo and their Bleed effect can enable you to kill enemies you otherwise couldn't take down in one hit. Given that the AI is generally bad at positioning their units to work in concert, moving into enemy lines to shank a Nazi can actually put you in a better position than if you tried to take them on with firearms.
  • Translation Convention: All dialogs appear in the language chosen in the game settings, whereas they are lines from the local people, the multinational team of player characters, or the Nazi mooks.
  • Trauma Inn:
    • Some nodes have a tent icon hovering over them. They represent places offering the option to rest until the next day (usually an oasis ccording to the flavour text), which offer full healing (health and outfits) to the full party, for free (beside the fuel consumed to reach the place). Those can be used several times.
    • There's also non-repeatable, scripted events where helping locals results in the person giving food and shelter to the party for the night, with the same result.
  • Travel Montage: Loading screens use this. It's usually not animated (when loading a tactical encounter ou leaving one), but an animated variant is used when the party moves to the next map during an adventure.
  • Turn-Based Combat: How the combat sequences are played.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: Let's see... The Thirties... Adventures in exotic locations... Nazis as bad guys... It's basically Indiana Jones: The Roguelike.
  • Vendor Trash: The inventory screen has an bottomless "Valuables" bag, in which loot which aren't equipment, money, or usable supply are immediately stored in; you can sell its whole content to the merchants on the worldmap (the same is done automatically when you're back on the main menu at the completion of an adventure). What count as vendor trash includes precious artifacts, like statues, sarcophageous, ancient necklaces, etc., as well as random trash (wallet, worn gloves, toothbrush, dog biscuit...), though the former ones are of course much more valuable than the latter.
  • Universal Ammunition: Despite the available guns being pistols, revolvers, assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, and energy weapons, there is a single ammo pool to reload everything. You even occasionally find black powder-era ammo, and they're usable, too!
  • Weapon of Choice: Each adventurer can only use specific class of weapons (sometimes unlocked when taking a new ability at level up).
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: In one of the random events allowing to hire an adventurer during an adventure, the party ventures inside a town and notices someone being held in the local jail. According to the locals, they got drunk and destroyed things (they claims they don't remember).


Example of: