Classed as the world’s first Plat-Former (the focus very much being on “form”), Semblance is a glorious looking indie game that’s available now on the Nintendo Switch and GOG. Created by South African developers Nyamakop, it’s a groovy take on 2D platformers. There’s a heavy emphasis on deformation here, so why not join us for a journey into the world of another piece of gaming excellence?
Righto, think of Semblance as a type of playdough video game. It’s putty in your hands! But it’s primarily a puzzle game at its psychedelic beating heart. There’s a major emphasis on mushing up platforms to create indentations. This allows you to reach new heights, depths, or whatevers. Indie games often have a unique focus like this (a “gimmick”, if you will) and Nyamakop certainly utilise this one with increasingly clever ideas.
It really draws you in after a bit of a low-key start. At first we thought we’d wasted £8 (about 20 cups of tea right there) on a mediocre affair, but then it all started to mould into shape and we’ve become rather smitten with it. Semblance morphs into something of an addiction as you bend platforms to traverse the world around you – collect all the collectibles, advance, get new skills, and enjoy the experience. Belting.
The gameplay is complemented by a ravishing artistic style, plus a soundtrack that appears to be from the World of Goo symphony of reasoning (ironic, given it’s a decade since that puzzle masterpiece was released). Another bonus, from our side, is the near total lack of story involved – you get dumped into the game and you’re off! This saved us from having to wade through a developer’s usually dismal attempts at telling a story, although we appreciate some gamers may have wanted something more from this side of the title.
Semblance offers a simple premise, for sure, and one utterly free from a lot of the baggage many modern games (including a growing number of indie titles) come with – cutscenes, reams of dialogue, endless button combinations, inventories etc. Most of that isn’t here. It’s just a straight up puzzle-platformer with a fun idea behind it and it’ll gave you wracking your brains big time. Like the sound of it? It’s available now.