EastAsiaSoft is a legendary publisher in my eyes, thanks to the awesome indie games they have published such as Rainbow Skies, and last year’s Semispheres. They have jumped on the opportunities the Switch provides to get indie games to more people, and Semispheres is one of these gems.
Semishperes is a top down puzzle game with a quirky twist. There are two versions of the puzzle on the screen, and you control a glowing dot in each one. Each dot is independently controlled by each joycon. Early on you can worry about one at a time, but as the game progresses you need to start using both at the same time which is when it starts to get hard.
The main challenge you will face in the game is enemies, which are other dots with a vision cone coming out of them. Getting caught in the cone will send that dot back to its spawn point. Generally, this is a bad thing, and you have some abilities at your disposal.
In most levels, you can grab pickups that give you an ability such as being able to make some noise. Getting close enough to an enemy and using this ability will send them off to the noises source, and if you can do it from behind an object, the enemy travels all the way around giving you some time to run for the end of the level.
The most interesting perk is the ability to open a circular window of sorts, to the other half of the stage. This allows you to, say, move your left dot into the circle, to pop up on the right-hand side. This would let you trigger a noise behind the enemy, distracting him, and giving your right-hand dot a chance to run past.
This sounds complex, but it doesn’t take long for you to get the hang of it. Thanks to the power of the joycons, if controlling two hands at once is a bit tough at times, you can pass a joycon to a friend and use that to split the work load in half. Depending on your friend’s capabilities to follow instruction, this will become easier or harder.
The puzzles become clever, quickly, as they require you to think outside the box a bit more, such as drawing an enemy past your spawn point, getting caught, spawning you behind them, giving you a vital head start.
It’s this cleverness that elevates Semispheres above a simple puzzle game. Seemingly simple levels can be skull crushingly frustrating.
It certainly helps that the game is a treat to look at. A couple of dots moving around a puzzle sounds dull but thanks to neon blues and oranges, the dots and walls pop out of the screen against its darker brain synapses inspired back drop.
Unfortunately, the sound design, which could have elevated the game to god-tier, is super average. There aren’t any issues as such, but they are bland, which stops it from being the sensory onslaught of pleasure it could have been.
Semispheres is an excellent puzzle game that is well worth checking out for any Switch owners. Its short puzzles make it a great title to have installed that you dive in and out of between games, or a couple of days of puzzle goodness if that’s your speed.
Blair bought a copy of Semispheres for review