By Ben Barrett on July 16th, 2014 at 8:00 am.
I promise I don’t actually have an indie game checklist I go through to decide whether I want to post about something or not, but Schein would score highly if I did. It’s a gorgeous puzzle-platformer with mind-bending light manipulation mechanics involving alternate realities that we haven’t posted about since a failed IndieGogo last year. It’s bounced back and the game’s ready now and released all over the place. Still trucking through Greenlight, weirdly, but I can’t imagine it will take long for another bazillion games to get let through. There’s an updated demo, which I’ve just had a play of, and you can shine a light this way to see some thoughts and the latest trailer.
This is common or garden, regulation platformy goodness. That perhaps doesn’t read like the compliment I meant it as, but I really did enjoy the short demo. It’s thoughtful, well written and acted and provides new challenge regularly. There aren’t two puzzles that feel the same, despite only using one simple interaction of certain types of light eliminating or revealing platforms. Doing that across an entire game is different from a 10 minute romp, of course, but there’s loads of room for expansion and Zeppelin Studio have nailed the pacing. Details like save placement, rarely ever setting you back more than a few steps, or the speed, height and weight of a jump are bang on too.
As for the plot, it’s thin on the ground in every piece of promotional material. The quiet conversation between the main character and the wisp he had befriended was a nice backdrop to the platforming. Masterfully, it was never interrupted by death, so there was no repetition of dialogue or awkward stops. The writing and theme is melancholy, which I’m still okay with even if it has been played out many times in this genre. It’s more important, to me at least, that a story be well put together and supported by a strong game than that it breaks totally new ground. Their spin on it of a father who’s lost his son isn’t typical either.