Semispheres is a puzzle/stealth game that toys with the idea of dual realities interacting with one another. The result in a single-player split-screen game that puts you in control of two characters in opposing realities. The key here is that each side of the screen in some way reflects the other and certain actions, given the right circumstances, could impact what happens on the other side. Semispheres uses this unique setup and ultimately presents one of the most unique puzzle games I’ve played in quite some time.
The general setup in Semispheres consists of an orange and blue side of the screen. Each side is home to an orange and blue character that can be controlled with the left and right analog sticks. (This game is intended for single-player, but a pre-release patch allowed for two controllers to be used at the same time – thus making multiplayer a bit more feasible if you’re interested.) The goal of each stage is simple, guide both characters past any obstacles and to the end portal. This isn’t always easy though, sometimes the blue character might be unable to pass without being spotted by a sentry. In this case the orange character can place a portal that opens a hole between realities and activate a noise maker to distract the sentry. It’s in this respect that Semispheres lays the groundwork for what’s to come. Many of the puzzle solutions require each side to work in tandem so that both orange and blue characters can reach their respective goals. From there, the game introduces side-swapping, teleporting, and other abilities as it continues to utilize both sides of the screen.
I really enjoyed the way new abilities were introduced in Semispheres. I liked starting a level and seeing something new just sitting there, waiting for one of my characters to pick it up. There’s not really a tutorial either, you just discover these abilities on your own and I really appreciated that.
Semispheres is divided up into 13 chapters (around 3-5 levels each) that each reveal a small portion of a larger story when completed. It’s a pretty simple ‘boy and his robot’ tale that’s presented through a series of pictures. It’s easy enough to follow along, and I quite like the drawings, but I’m not sure it resonated with me in the way that was likely intended. It’s a story that simply exists within the game without taking away or adding much to the game as a whole.
For some reason, after completing the game, Semispheres clears all progress and makes players start from scratch. I found this out when I went to record our Gameplay Glimpse for this game, hoping to jump between some different stages, only to find that I had to restart from scratch. This wasn’t a huge deal for me personally, but it does feel like a strange design decision either way. That said, Semispheres is creative, unique, and a really enjoyable few hours of puzzle solving.
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:
- Clever use of split-screen concept
- Each new power brings something interesting to the game
What I Dislike:
- Progress clears after finishing the game. No way to go back to any level without replaying the game.