Semispheres (PS4 Review)
If you haven’t realised by now, I’m a pretty big fan of puzzle based games. This is why I’m here to talk about Semispheres, a new meditative parallel puzzle game by Vivid Helix.
What’s most interesting about Semispheres is each level has a dual reality setup where you control what look like two fireballs; one orange and one blue, with each analogue stick on the controller. Everything starts off relatively simple, with your goal to get each fireball to a swirling vortex on the screen. However, there’s times where you’ll need to be quick, dexterous and able to multitask really well to get through some of the levels.
Timing is key in Semispheres. You could have the simplest puzzle in front of you with a completely obvious solution for it take you a good while to compete just because you couldn’t move those fireballs fast enough.
While I genuinely enjoyed Semispheres, and honestly think it’s been one of the most fun puzzles games I’ve played, there are a few things that I unfortunately have an issue with.
First is the length. There’s are a total of 13 levels, each containing a certain amount of puzzles with a secret to unlock after you’ve completed each level. Now that sounds a lot, and it is, but the nature of the puzzles means they can be quickly solved and I managed to finish everything in about 40-45 minutes. I couldn’t say if this is down to experience, but even for those of you with a passing interest in puzzle games there won’t be much in the realm of challenge.
Secondly, there’s no option to change the difficulty. You have a set difficulty and that’s your lot. If you’re finding things too easy there’s no way to increase the challenge and the same can be said of you find yourself struggling, you’ll just have to keep at it until you manage to get through.
Finally there’s no replay value apart trophy hunting. There’s no post game and no real incentive to replay through the same old campaign again.
I did enjoy the art style with the animation for the fireballs, as well as the security orbs (for lack of a better term). Animations were fluid and extremely well done. Coupled with the ambient meditative music it makes for a stunning looking, and sounding, game.
Semisphers is not just about completing puzzles though, even if that’s the focus of Semispheres. Whenever you finish a level you unlock part of a story. I won’t go into the details of what the story is so I don’t spoil it, but it does add something to work towards as you’ll want to know how it ends.
Thinking about it; Semispheres could be played with two people, each controlling your own fireball through one analogue each on the same controller. It could add an extra layer of difficulty; getting each other to understand what you’re both talking about and getting the timing right. Or it could backfire and completely destroy any relationship you have with that person so attempt this at your own risk.
Overall Semispheres is not a bad game, it’s a genuinely fun puzzle game that will test your reflexes, timing as well how quickly you can solve a problem. It’s unfortunate that it’s let down by it’s extremely short length, inability to increase the difficulty or offer anything new on additional playthroughs. If you’re into puzzle games or even if you’re looking for something to waste an hour, possibly two, I would recommend giving it a go.