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.