She & Him – Together: Amna & Saif Tries To Rethink Co-op

By Alec Meer on June 12th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Talk about what does it right, not just what to some eyes does not. It’s too easy to forget how important that is, to highlight the things that are out there for people who want something different to play – and someone different to play as. I don’t today highlight Together: Anna & Saif because of the apparent gender of any of the protagonists, but because it’s a combat-free co-op title about a form of relationship that games rarely explore – a mother and child.

The enduringly lovely Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons springs to mind, in terms of this being primarily a puzzle game about two family members working together to find help for a third, dying one, but this has a very different tone and is a co-op game rather than a dexterity-challenging singleplayer game. This is more co-dependence than co-operation, however – “You can’t do anything on your own”, “you’re always hurting yourself if you’re hurting the other player” are key quotes, I think.

While the blurb doesn’t make a big deal of it, the art and title strongly implies the protagonists are Middle-Eastern too, which is another refreshing change. It’s early doors so there’s probably more to see in terms of how the game evolves, but zuzzles seem centred around coordinated button-pushing a la Project Eden, there’s no combat and it apparently it’s never about one player benefiting over the other in any way. Here’s the pitch video, though if I’m honest it’s probably a bit over-heavy on Shiny Happy People and broad promises about bonding:

This second, footage-only video does a better job of explaining how Together Works and looks, i.e. it is a puzzle with two-player puzzles in it:

I worry that making it local multi only, much as I absolutely understand that it’s a deliberate decision to encourage communication and collaboration, is going to hamstring it to some degree, but perhaps that’s just a reflection of my own lifestyle, wherein spur-of-the-moment late-night online gaming is about the only multiplayer that’s plausible. Boo-hoo, etc.

They’re after $10k on Kickstarter and, with almost $9k in the bank already, there’s no way they’re not going to make it. Here’s the inevitable Greenlight page too.

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11 Comments »

  1. InternetBatman says:

    I thought the art was beautiful, but the gameplay looks so-so.

  2. doodler says:

    I don’t mean to sound like a jerk but I couldn’t read this article. The opening is painful and seems like a rough draft and it doesn’t get better. I’m used to you being a great writer Alec, please fix this article.
    Why is this one sentence?
    “I worry that making it local multi only, much as I absolutely understand that it’s a deliberate decision to encourage communication and collaboration, is going to hamstring it to some degree, but perhaps that’s just a reflection of my own lifestyle, wherein spur-of-the-moment late-night online gaming is about the only multiplayer that’s plausible. “

    • Neutrino says:

      Because as any grammar facist knows, a sentence is never started with ‘but’.

      • doodler says:

        “I worry that making it local multiplayer only because much as I absolutely understand that it’s a deliberate decision to encourage communication and collaboration it is going to hamstring it to some degree. Perhaps that’s just a reflection of my own lifestyle, wherein spur-of-the-moment late-night online gaming is about the only multiplayer that’s plausible. “

        My main gripes are the opening paragraph. I’m not a grammar nazi by any means… I make terrible mistakes but I just felt like this article gave this game a bit of a disservice because of how hard it was to follow his impressions.

        • Frank says:

          No.

          “I worry that X because Y” only works when X could function as its own sentence, but “making it local multiplayer” does not. Also, you would need a comma after “collaboration.” Try again.

          I agree that the opening paragraph is a trudge, but I guess Alec was just trying something new.

    • mr.black says:

      I’m a non-native speaker and yeah, it took me few painful lost tries to understand the main message. But I’m confident in Alec’s competence and I’m sure he was just trying some new style, or referencing something no one catched, and not that we’ll be forced to do the puzzle solving game in every new opening paragraph from him..

  3. eataTREE says:

    perhaps that’s just a reflection of my own lifestyle, wherein spur-of-the-moment late-night online gaming is about the only multiplayer that’s plausible.

    Speaking as one whose lifestyle involves living in a big noisy house with a wife and children and their many friends, local multiplayer is the difference between a game I think “Oh that would be cool to check out sometime” and a game I actually get to play — and a game that’s “woman and child friendly” is the difference between a game I get to play once, and a game I get roped into playing over and over and over again for hours.

  4. Gap Gen says:

    $9! A heady sum.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    I’m sure part of the “no internet multiplayer” is down to the small budget. If they smashed their goal, maybe it’s something they could do.

    The co-operative puzzle solving reminds me of Portal. But it just doesn’t look as fun or interesting.

  6. Shodex says:

    This is completely unrelated but the image for the Kickstarter video with a lady next to a much younger boy reminded me of Otoyomegatari (Japanese for “A Bride’s Story”). A manga (Japanese comic) set in 19th century Turkic Central Asia, where a woman named Amira travels from a distant village to marry a lucky young lad eight years her junior. It’s a romance with mostly a lot of feel-good stuff about their daily lives, but there’s a good amount of drama sprinkled on top when Amira’s family demands to take her back. The art is also gorgeous.

    If you’re just here for video games or have an aversion to all things Japanese than please ignore me. But I was reminded of it here and in light of all the discussion about female characters on RPS, I thought I’d take a minute to recommend something that I really love that has a great female lead.

    You can read it here.