By Vikki Blake. 6/08/2018
Version tested: Switch.
Before there were fidget spinners, there were stress balls. You remember them, right? Those squishy, malleable balls of goo that could be squeezed and pulled and manipulated in a myriad of eye-watering ways, ostensibly to help people channel their frustration and anger, but only ever really used to sedate restless hands for a day or two before being shoved, forgotten, into a desk drawer.
In Semblance you play as one of those squishy, malleable balls of goo that leaps and squeezes and wiggles, collecting orbs to reverse the thin layer of infectious crust that's creeping across your soft, moldable world. A press release calls it an "engaging, yet minimalist story" but I don't quite truck with that, because I didn't even realise there was a story, not until I'd finished the game and sat down to write this review.
That's not a criticism, though; at its heart Semblance is a puzzle game, and while we all know how important - how effective - storytelling has become in contemporary gaming, it's never essential, not really, not if the bones of a game are strong enough to carry it without the meat of a narrative. To its credit, Semblance's bones are gorgeous.
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