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Semispheres is a pretty 2D puzzle game with a synth-led soundtrack by musician Sid Barnhoorn, composer of Antichamber and The Stanley Parable.
Radu Muresan created the game with a bichromatic art style featuring warm blues and oranges. Your job as the player is to reunite two parallel worlds.
I saw the game demoed by Muresan a year ago at an Intel Buzz Workshop in Seattle. I was entranced by its simple gameplay and graphics. You play as a creature that is trying to escape guards holding flashlights. Viewed from above, you control two dots, which you can think of as two people, moving through a variety of rooms.
The guards have flashlights with a cone-shaped range. If you are caught in the flashlight, then the round is over, and you have to start again. It’s actually kind of scary as you try to escape, even though it’s just a 2D puzzle game.
“I’m super excited for everybody to finally play Semispheres,” said Muresan in a statement. “From the first seed of an idea I prototyped at the Ludum Dare game jam in August 2014 to what players are about to experience, the game’s development has been an amazing experience.”
He added, “Now, with the game’s minimalist art style and an amazing soundtrack by Sid Barnhoorn, Semispheres represents the completion of the vision I had close to three years ago, striking the balance between calming and challenging I’ve been looking for.”
In Semispheres, each analog stick controls a different avatar in environments that might initially appear identical but reveal profound differences crucial to progression. Portals allow the avatars to enter each other’s reality, creating fiendishly complex inter-dimensional puzzles, with success reliant on methodical planning and skillful execution. It’s not all esoteric brain workouts, though. Tension comes from sentries that guard these worlds — whose fields of vision you must evade in order to find safe passage and the eventual resynchronization of the worlds.
Controller support includes the option to play with keyboard. Additional platform releases will follow in 2017. The game has more than 50 levels.
Vivid Helix is an independent studio located in Calgary, Canada that Muresan founded in 2010. After a series of successful mobile releases for children and efforts in the puzzle genre, Semispheres is the studio’s debut console and PC release.
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