Is The Pale Beyond, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
The Pale Beyond’s stunning visuals and engaging narrative feel wasted on a game with such an unrewarding gameplay loop and unintuitive UI.

Points of Interest.

Product Details
Genre: Management
Developer: Bellular Studios
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 24 February 2023
Supported Modes:

Simplistic Point and Click Mechanics.

Simplistic point-and-click games are often looked down upon by more seasoned gamers due to their association with the type of ultra-casual games that once were the bread and butter of digital game distribution before the advent of Steam and the domination of digital gaming.

The Pale Beyond struggles to be more than a simplistic point-and-click visual novel, with even the most in-depth mechanics serving as little more than a distraction and, in many cases, a pointless one.

An example of this is the game requiring players to assign workers to collect coal manually and then manually load the bags of coal into the furnace themselves; this system of involving the player in every tedious action extends to even the stewpot, with the cook refusing to fill it himself, even at the expense of the entire crew starving to death.

I may not know much about being a ship’s cook, but I am sure that emptying a few cans of beans into a cooking pot is the work of a cook and not the first mate (later captain) of a doomed voyage.

While there is a place in the market for simplistic point-and-click games, a large part of the genre’s continued existence is owed to nostalgia, and new titles often struggle for mainstream acceptance, with even well-established publishers failing to recoup development costs in a timely manner.


Great Characters.

The Pale Beyond boast a cast of colourful characters who help propel the narrative while maintaining personal goals and aspirations.

With gorgeous artwork and well-developed personalities, each character feels unique in their own right.

Being unable to interact with such characters in a less tedious setting is one of my greatest regrets with The Pale Beyond.

The Pale Beyond is a sad combination of fantastic audio and visual design, and substandard gameplay mechanics, which will struggle to keep the attention of anyone who is not already a longtime fan of its famous internet celebrity lead developer (Bellular).


Impactful Choices.

While many games boast of allowing players to shape the direction of the narrative, The Pale Beyond does so by granting players a huge amount of control over the narrative and, by extension, allowing players to decide quite literally who lives and who dies.

While this is not always the case, and a few events feel forced, they are necessary for the plot’s integrity and, while momentarily distracting, do not diminish the narrative, which is constantly engaging throughout.


Lacks Voice Acting.

As someone who plays a lot of JRPGs and indie titles, I am used to games without voice acting; however, with so little to offer mechanically, a cast of high-quality voice actors would have given The Pale Beyond the edge it needed for me to give it a passing (recommended) grade.

While the story can still be enjoyed without voice acting, The Pale Beyond has little to offer besides its aesthetic and narrative. Voice acting would go a long way towards cementing it as an excellent visual novel.


Artificial Difficulty.

The Pale Beyond goes above in beyond when it comes to forcing artificially difficult scenarios on the player, and in no place is this more evident than with the ship’s food supply, which despite being stated to be enough for six months of full rations, is all but exhausted at the end of week two without direct intervention by the player, and can result in players being forced to reduce rations, well before the voyage is well underway.

This difficulty extends to the late gate, where seals (850-900lbs) and emperor penguins (88lbs) provide only enough food for three people to enjoy full rations for a week, despite the immense amount of edible meat on the former (around 400lbs worth) and abundance of the latter.


Save Tree.

When it comes to saving in survival games, there are two trains of thought, with some games allowing users to save and reload at will (which is commonly known as save scumming by both supporters and opponents of this method) and forced autosaves that require a player either live with their choices or start afresh.

The Pale Beyond handles this problem in a rather clever way by allowing players to reload to the start of any previous week, at the expense of losing all progress after that point, in theory allowing players to undo the damage of previous mistakes at a cost, a near perfect balance that I would love to see more developers adopt in future.


The Pale Beyond FAQ

The Pale beyond is a management video game developed by Bellular Studios and published by Fellow Traveller, it was released on 24 February 2023 and retails for $19.99.

Platform Availability.

The Pale beyond is available exclusively on PC.

How Long Does The Pale Beyond Take to Complete?

On average The Pale Beyond takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 6 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 8 Hours.
  • Completionist: 8 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

The Pale Beyond is unrated and contains the following:

  • Bad Language
  • Violence

Final Verdict.

The Pale Beyond is not a bad game. Still, suppose you strip away its narrative (which is excellent) and visuals (which are top-notch). In that case, you are left with a rather tedious title that is a part visual novel and part bare-bones resource management simulation that is unlikely to appeal to any but the most diehard fans of Bellular.

While the ability to influence the plot via meaningful choices is handled well, when the outcome of said choices leads to more tedium and artificial difficulty, even The Pale Beyond’s excellent narrative cannot save it.

Is The Pale beyond Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "The Pale beyond" a rating of 5/10, which means, while it is mediocre/average, and has its fair share of issues, the average gamer would not regret playing it.

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