On the official website Asemblance is described as the pilot episode of a new franchise inspired by The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, and Black Mirror. It’s also clearly inspired by PT and has already fostered a bit of a community that worked tirelessly to uncover any secret buried in and outside the game. The final product is an interesting experiment that doesn’t quite have the payoff you’d like from the work that was required.
Things start as you wake up trapped in some sort of machine that’s designed to simulate memories. Why are you there? Do you even want to remember? How do you get out of the machine? From here you’re able to activate different holographic recreations of places that you’ve been in real life. A forest, your old office, and your home are all available for you to explore and interact with. These areas are small, but they each provide details that may point to whatever answers you might be looking for. The office in particular provides plenty of notes and newspaper clippings to read that start to build up an interesting mystery.
Without the help of a walk-through the first two endings are easily obtained in about twenty minutes. From there Asemblance gets a bit trickier with a Blue Shift and Green Shift ending, which will require a bit of thought, but isn’t completely unobtainable without any help. Where Asemblance shows its true nature is the path that people had to take to achieve the final ending – White Shift.
Within Asemblance is a lot of obtuse hints and formulas that may or may not mean anything. When entering certain parts of the game the screen will quickly flash numerous cryptic images for mere fractions of a second. With everything else solved there doesn’t appear to be any sort of clear solution to the elusive White Shift. This is where the community comes into play. On the game’s Steam forums and through Twitch players worked together to solve mathematical equations, take part in email correspondence, and even watch weird videos on YouTube in hopes of finding an answer.
Reviewing Asemblance is tough because it’s such a different beast from most other games. I didn’t personally post on the Steam forums (I often just didn’t have anything new to add), but I did watch them closely just to see how far the rabbit hole would go. It was fascinating to watch and I think a lot of success can be found in crafting puzzle games that require teamwork like this. At the same time, however, Asemblance doesn’t have much to offer as a payoff for any of its five endings.
There’s enough information there to start forming theories about what’s going on within the game, but it doesn’t feel like enough. Across all five endings, even White Shift, there’s only cryptic teases and nothing more. The fact that White Shift gives so little actual information considering how much hard work was put into finding it has to be slightly disappointing. Despite that, Asemblance is still interesting enough to spawn a community dedicated to uncovering all of its secrets. The ending isn’t completely satisfying, but as a pilot episode of an ongoing series I’m totally on-board to see what comes next.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Interesting mystery
- Watching a community build around this game in an attempt to unravel all of its secrets
What I Dislike:
- None of the endings offer much in the form of satisfying answers