Developer: Limasse Five | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, First PersonSpoilers: Medium
June 19, 2021
I’ve played almost 4 hours of this exploration adventure game today and it is probably the most egregious example of a game I have a strong love/hate relationship with. It has the most epic levels with an expanse I haven’t seen probably since Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria. I’m a drooling sucker for such things, and when it also have really interesting architecture like it did here, I’m definitely in for the long run.
Unfortunately, the wonderful walks or casual jumping was sometimes spiced up with demanding jumping puzzles, some of which were downright sadistic. I don’t think I’ve been cursing and shouting like this at a game for years. Sometimes I was wondering if the developer was secretly hating its audience, especially during a tunnel sequence on a long rotating shaft.
But I get ahead of myself.
After being dropped down from a confusing chase intro, the architecture was mostly cubic albeit often detailed – and in all kinds of gray tones. Sometimes the corridors were claustrophobic, sometimes quite roomy. Darkness sometimes played a role. I might have to rely on dynamic light rarely shining on platforms or chasing light orbs to find my way. Later, I also found light orbs that made a wall solid or transparent when touched to change position. I could only walk through these walls when transparent.
This made for a few genuine puzzles, although they didn’t occur that often.
Apart from crawling or jumping, I could also run. This was made interesting with the addition of timed breaths which a white indicator circle and a breathing sound requested in a periodic manner. As long as I clicked at the right time, I could keep running forever. After getting used to it, it was fine for most of the time, but when the going got tough in demanding jump puzzles, it could get annoying.
One of the first jump sequences of this kind had me chasing a light orb while jumping across platforms. If I lost track of it, it got so dark that I could barely see the platforms anymore. This was so annoying that I seriously considered bailing out at this time. But something told me to push on, and I’m glad I did.
If you’re in this position yourself, I seriously recommend reaching the second level.
The second level was where the game truly grabbed me. I got to an enormous deep with an abundance of structural architecture and foreboding jump puzzles as far as pixels could take me. It was a truly amazing revelation. Now I had to traverse down, and it took me past tubes, ledges, staircases, riding down on cubic foam (which I could fall down on from any distance) or jumping on wall pistons. As I got close to the bottom of the initial shaft, strong gusts of wind made me reconsider when to pass certain paths.
Diving out of the shaft dropped my jaw even further. The vistas down here were massive, with alien pillars the size of skyscrapers. This reminded me of a wallpaper I once had on my Windows desktop.
Most of the traversing down here were on massive roofs or areas and for the most part it was enjoyable, although there were a few annoying staircase puzzles. One had me jump small stair pistons shooting out of a wall, and a cruel spiral staircase went down forever until I stopped and did nothing.
It’s one of those things where only the developer was laughing.
The third level went through big ventilation pipes. Some of these had rotating shafts with fan blades and pistons. They were short enough in the beginning to only be mildly annoying, but it would return later in a version that would make me hate the game.
But in between the easy level shafts and that one, I got to a surprise puzzle room that looked like it almost didn’t belong in this game. I had to move big transparent blocks around on a wall piece by stepping on a few switches to move their small indicator counterparts. Lining up the transparent blocks meant I had the right way running through and climbing ladders. It was one of those control puzzles that felt like it came straight out of a game like Antichamber or Q.U.B.E.
Then came the extended version of the rotating pipe puzzle, and it was truly detestable. It went on forever and had the most sadistic combination of fan blades, pistons, swirling forks and hateful wind gusts maybe even worse than you can imagine. I think I died more than 50 times during this sequence.
I was this close to quitting the game and perhaps I should have.
The fourth level dove into madness and had surreal sequences that almost looked like being inside an oldskool home computer demo. By far the most aggravating part here was in a 99% all white or all black chamber (depending on the choice or two doors with the opposite light) with rare flashes of light to barely get even the smallest idea of where I was going. Oh, and if didn’t you might fall and die.
June 27, 2021
Completed the game for a total of almost 6 hours. Although a few places were a little harder than they had to be, luckily nothing got nowhere as close as walking the rotating shaft of death and despair.
The level of madness continued with more hide-and-seek in the dark and jump puzzles on swirling blocks. This led to another one of those lovingly epic set pieces, this time on a long bridge passing more detailed architecture almost like straight out of Star Wars. Man, I love this stuff.
A few pipes led to an collection of several pipe exhausts plus one exceptionally long set of stairs leading up into darkness. Running these stairs went on for so long it felt like a pointless loop, so I went back down and started exploring the exhausts instead. I bet this is exactly what the developer wanted me to do, and I stepped right into his trap. Lots of futile jumping into pipes that led nowhere useful.
Then I went back to running up the stairs, and lo and behold, it did have an end.
Now I found myself in an enormous desert with dunes. Reminiscences of the recently completed Journey were unavoidable. The running method got used quite a lot across the vast dunes, but there were some interesting ruins or temples to be found in a few distant spots.
One gave me a song with rocking stones and swirling effects, another was a tough climb across big platforms to reach the top of three towers just to see the color of the desert temporarily change, and a third flicked the level design of a mirror universe temple while seeking the end inside of it. All of this began to smell like mere desert toys with no real consequence, and then it hit me – what if I just had to jump the edge of the desert? Although vast, it still had an edge all around.
Yep, this led to the next level. Bet that will look weird in speedrun videos – a dart towards the edge.
The final level about meeting the host spawned an enormous energy worm that didn’t seem to like my face. I was afraid I had to solve some sort of boss puzzle here and I wasn’t looking forward to that, but instead it became a runner. Turn on a heel and run on wall pieces swirling to become floors, and later with helpful massive jumps. Although it sounds like another frustrating experience, it actually wasn’t that bad. I had to run and keep up the breathing, but it was mostly just plain running.
There were times when I wanted to deduct one or two ticks from the score because of a few really sadistic jump puzzles, but the variety of the sometimes epic levels, the modern cubic design, and the sometimes inventive ideas made me want to be in a forgiving mood. The game was made by just one guy and considering the variety of it all, that sure is one impressive feat.