Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

Often in platform games, the player finds himself in a room strewn with small panels, spikes, lasers, and enemies. And he is not allowed to change the environment in any way, except that sometimes there are levers that move the platforms in different directions. In Semblance, levels are arranged a little differently: you can deform the ground and various obstacles, thus solving puzzles. Of course, not all objects on the screen can change shape, but there is enough freedom here to make the game stand out from the rest of the genre.

It was straight – it became crooked

The main character, judging by one of the menu items, is called Squishy. This small creature with large white eyes is trying on its own to save a forest suffering from a strange infection. All large trees are infected and covered with a green substance, and many inhabitants of the forest are imprisoned in crystals.

In addition to being able to run and jump, Squishy can only dash to the side. And this turns out to be enough to solve many riddles – it is with the help of a jerk that the deformation of platforms and surfaces occurs. “Soft” objects differ from all others in appearance – they are monochromatic, while the usual elements of the environment are more detailed.

The deformation occurs exactly as you imagine it before the start of the passage. If the platform is thin, and you hit it from below, it will bend, and Squishy will be able to climb the formed mound and jump higher. You can dig a small hole in the ground by jumping up and dashing down. The hero is not capable of repelling opponents, but with the help of these holes you can escape from enemies that fly nonstop from side to side.

The South African developers at Nyamakop have come up with quite a few interesting levels that use the same character skill. Over time, lasers will begin to appear, incinerating Squishy, ​​then rays will be added, due to which surfaces cannot be deformed. Some zones will be strewn with red dots – in them the hero loses his main skill, and therefore cannot bend platforms.

Semblance game review

You cannot endlessly deform the same platform – otherwise many puzzles would become much easier.

More recent and complex puzzles force you to either think things out a few steps ahead or experiment, trying to interact with all objects, tilting the rays in different directions and observing the reaction of the environment to your actions. There is no need to worry that you will ruin everything and confuse yourself even more due to the deformation of the platforms – with one button you can return all objects to their previous state. And if, after much torment, you hit a laser and die, you will not only be transported very close to the same puzzle, but the twisted environment will also be left untouched.

The forest will be saved

Personally, none of the puzzles seemed to me furiously difficult, but some of them took about five minutes to complete. For those who are not so diligent and prefer to leave the most difficult for later, this option is always available – even the very first puzzle you will be able to solve only at the very end, if you so wish. The game is divided into three episodes (and an additional one in the finale), and those consist of several stages, and the player can move freely from one task to another without any obstacles.

The task is the same every time – solve the puzzle and take the sphere that is hanging in the air or lies in a secluded place. Thanks to these spheres, large trees gradually come to life, and the forest takes on its former appearance, getting rid of the infection. This gameplay is limited – nothing more is required to complete the plot. In order to somehow entertain yourself additionally, you can destroy red insects along the way, and entertaining riddles are also associated with them. I don’t know what exactly they will give for finding all these creatures (most likely nothing), but in this way you can stretch the passage.

Semblance game review

From the “soft” wall, you can make a kind of ladder.

Unfortunately, Semblance ends very quickly – after more than two hours, the player is shown the credits. The final episode, where the developers literally test you for strength and dump all the old mechanics into one heap, ends before it even starts. I want more, I want some more original ideas and funny situations, but no – after the credits, the user is thrown into the menu, where he can only start the passage again.

And the story here is not fully understood – the theme of the conflict between the inhabitants of the forest and the evil invaders is not fully disclosed. Who are these creatures, why do they do it, and how does the infection affect vegetation and living creatures? From time to time you come across secret rooms with cave paintings, but these drawings do not really explain anything. You can play such platform games without motivation, but if you already find secrets, you want to see more sense in them.

This does not spoil the impression in any way, largely due to the visual style and sound accompaniment, which do not cease to please until the finale. The inhabitants of the forest, untouched by the infection, meet at every step and react to the appearance of the character – they will either shrink and become the same size with him, or lean in his direction. And the soundtrack perfectly complements what is happening and does not irritate while solving difficult puzzles. The only pity is that the authors failed to completely get rid of bugs – Squishy sometimes gets stuck in platforms and walls. But this is solved by pressing the pause and saving the poor fellow.

Semblance game review

Rays are one of the most interesting puzzles.

***

The creators of Semblance came up with an unusual mechanic for platformers and implemented it perfectly. They settled a cute creature in a no less cute world, came up with dozens of interesting puzzles and were not afraid to give the hero only one ability. It is a pity that there are few levels in the game, and therefore it takes a couple of hours to complete. But it is better for the player to want more than he will lazily get to the ending, hoping for the imminent appearance of the final credits.

Pros: great puzzles with original game mechanics; wonderful level design; convenient management; stylish picture and nice soundtrack.

Cons: short duration; secret locations do not help to better understand the story; small bugs.

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