This playdough won’t leave a salty taste in your mouth.
Platform:Â PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Publisher: Nyamacop, Good Shepherd Entertainment
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: An adorable puzzle platformer made of Playdough!
Price: Console – Â£9/$10
PC – N/A
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Semblance is an innovative puzzle platformer created by a South-African games developer, Nyamacop. This adorable platformer has you control a squishy doughball as you save your soft playdough world from a hardened crystalline infection. It’s up to you to bend and morph the playdough world to your whim to avoid dangers, solve puzzles, or even to reach higher ground. Semblance literally turns the concept of platforming and turns it on its head whilst asking the question “What if the platforms were a part of the gameplay, part of how you solve the problems?”
The game has you explore three soft worlds which have been brought down by the crystalline infection; it’s up to you, Squishy (I’m calling him Squishy and he is my friend!) to collect these glowing orbs which push back this terrible infection. In order to claim these orbs, you have to deform the soft parts of the world to solve platforming puzzles to reach and collect them. Some of these puzzles can require quick thinking and platforming, whilst others have a more laid-back approach to them.
The controls for the game are simple; with the left stick or D-Pad being used to control Squishy, you jump with the B button, return the platforms to their normal form using the A button, and finally, the button used to deform the platforms and to dash is the Y button. This game is a dream to play with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, and in handheld mode, I spent a few of my journeys on the bus or train playing Semblance with people giving me weird looks when I got frustrated at a puzzle only to then realise the solution was as straightforward as dashing across a chasm…
There are various play styles with the puzzles, which make each world fresh and interesting; the first stage gets you used to the general concept of deforming the platforms whilst dodging the crystalline infection, as one hit can kill you, and the next world has you learning about lasers that take your deformed platforms and turn them back to normal, which can be frustrating but at the same time shows how you can use this to your advantage. You can bend the platforms down, for example, and when the lasers come along and reset the platform, you get catapulted upwards as the platform turns into a trampoline for a short burst. The third world allows to squish yourself against crystals that cannot kill you, so you can squish yourself like a pancake to squeeze through tight crevasses, but at the cost of your jumping height, or you can squash yourself vertically, giving you incredible jumping height and the risk of slipping down vertical crevasses.
The graphical style is simplistic with a simple colour palette, which is super appealing on the eyes, plus Squishy is an adorable little ball made of playdough, whilst the denizens of this soft world come in all shapes and sizes. The colour palette for the worlds are shades of purple, green, and blue with the evil crystal infection taking up the colours usually associated with evil – like red – so this makes it easy to determine what is safe for our little buddy and what is problematic for him or her or it… I’m not sure.
Overall, Semblance is definitely a game you should consider grabbing, even if you’re not a fan of puzzle or platformer games, as the game is appealing to everyone with its gradual difficulty curve and a graphical style that is totally adorable and cute. It’s an incredible game for the Nintendo Switch, as you can take Squishy’s adventures on the go. Either way, the puzzles in the game will keep you entertained for hours on end; I found myself playing this game for weeks on and off during my free time to break up the daily grind, and even though some puzzles can be a tad frustrating, I found myself walking away more relaxed than when I started.
- Interesting and innotative concept on platformers.
- Adorable graphical style which makes love to your eyes.
- Hours of fun for you to enjoy.
- Some puzzles can be frustrating.
Semblance is rated E for Everyone by ESRB and PEGI 3.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a digital code of the game provided by the publishers for the purposes of this review.