Bright, Like A Diamond: Schein Released

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.

Certainly seems worth a pop for less than a fiver and there’s a bucketload of trailers for the unsure.

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8 Comments »

  1. Alien.Nated says:

    Doesn’t look bad, but honestly I’m all 2D-platform’ed out, have been for a least a decade. People need to play Super Mario Galaxy and move on, ever forward … into dat future.

    • Jdopus says:

      Yeah I feel the same, the last one I could actually bring myself to play was Trine 2. There are just far too many of these games. They may be charming and well made, this one certainly looks it, but the market (And my attention) is just totally over saturated by now.

  2. Kein says:

    “It’s a gorgeous puzzle-platformer with mind-bending light manipulation mechanics involving alternate realities”

    And this is new and special in which way? There have been quite a few 2D (puzzle)-platformers with world-alternation by some means, most notable from recent ones – pure platfromer Giana Sisters and lovely puzzle-platformer Chronology (and that just the popular ones, there is quite a few obscure indie gems as well), where you could alter world state by swinging time back and forth.

    I honestly took these 1:44 minute to watch the trailer but I haven’t noticed anything spectacular or special there (nor in gameplay, nor in visuals) that would make this one stand aside and deserve such words. Someone, probably, should clear that backlog of older puzzle-platformers to get in touch with genre overall :P

    • Ben Barrett says:

      If 1:44 gets you this angry, I can’t imagine what 5 minutes waiting in line for a coffee must bring you to.

    • Premium User Badge LTK says:

      Honestly, comparing the trailer for Chronology to this one, Schein seems like the more interesting one by far. Switching between worlds is a well-established mechanic by now (see also Fly’n) but combining it with Closure-like light mechanics is not something I’ve seen before. I can definitely see this lending itself well to challenging puzzles.

  3. deanimate says:

    Looks pretty average

  4. hamilcarp says:

    Didn’t think I’d live to see the day when RPS references Rihanna.