A wonderful journey full of unique and clever ideas around every squishy corner.
Often times the trick to a puzzle platformer is to execute a series of preset jumps while deciphering how to unlock the path forward. However that’s not the case with Semblance, which instead sees you manipulating not only the environment, but also the blob-like protagonist to overcome obstacles and collect orbs to turn back the corruption overtaking the world. The pacing is wonderful, throwing new ideas into the fold as you progress deeper into the adventure, keeping it fresh and fun. Demanding platforming leads to some frustration in the late game, but despite that I was left admiring this truly charming experience.
The main draw of Semblance is the ability to deform and mold the surrounding areas to overcome challenges to collect orbs known as life essences. Manipulating a surface is as easy as jumping and dashing the blob-like creatures body into it, and this works for each of the cardinal directions. These can then be reset to their starting positions with the tap of the A button, so it’s encouraged to mess around with the environment. Jumping and slamming down will make a ground dip or getting underneath it and slamming up will cause it to rise. Sometimes dashing into walls is necessary to make little nooks to climb to higher ground. The concept is easy to grasp, but the way the developers play with this idea is where the game really shines. Within each of the three worlds there are a number of trees, which act as hubs, each with varying numbers of orbs to collect. There are some light challenges in between hubs, but they’re pretty mundane in comparison to what’s waiting within each tree. Collecting all of the orbs within the tree will vanquish the corruption from the tree and gathering all the orbs within the world will unlock the path to the next world.
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