Jumping, falling, kicking through walls, RUNNING AWAY. It's how I've spent my morning and some of last night, as I made my way through the alpha release of Lemma, an indie game set to be released as a charity fundraiser. The most obvious point of comparison is Mirror's Edge and since I've not woken up enough to make a more obtuse comparison, let's go with Mirror's Edge because in Lemma you perform parkour from a first-person perspective. There's a story, told through exploration of the island on which you inexplicably awaken as well as through convincingly written text messages exchanged with someone in need of assistance. Stumble from your precarious foothold and join me below for a trailer and more.
BAM, that wall sure got kicked in the face. But then the pieces of wall sometimes trundle around in a way that pieces of wall definitely shouldn't. That's when kicking becomes running.
There is creepiness and cleverness, and at its root, Lemma is a game about plotting your route from one side of an area to another using the tools at your disposal. At first, your limbs are those tools but later on, there's manipulation of the environment, both deliberate and not, as well as some other interesting things that I'm going to keep a secret from you because you're going to play the alpha and discover them for yourself.
Here's a thing that I noticed. When the lead character receives a text message, her phone makes a vibration sound that sounds a bit like the noise my phone makes on my desktop. The first couple of times I thought I'd become inexplicably popular only to be disappointed. But then I became worried; why does the phone vibrate as if against wood when it's in her pocket? Maybe the firm muscles of the parkourier are as solid as a tree trunk? Or maybe I'm still too tired to form coherent thoughts.
Despite the fact that I've become stuck on scenery upon occasion, this is a solid alpha release and the environment is much more open than you might think at first. Explore, jump off the highest peaks, go wild.
One word of warning - the download was flagged as unsafe for me. This is a known issue addressed by the developer ("It’s because I can’t afford a code signing signature at the moment, so the installer has not been signed.") and I've scanned it thoroughly and found nothing untoward. Jump in here.