Semispheres (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 14.09.2017 1

Review for Semispheres on Nintendo Switch

Since the dawn of the Wii, Nintendo's main goal has strayed from competing with Sony and Microsoft to innovating their consoles in order to offer a unique experience. The Wii pushed motion controls into the forefront, the Wii U relied on its tablet, and the Switch has been enjoying its life as a console-handheld hybrid. With an emphasis on less traditional design philosophies, major third party releases tended to neglect Nintendo. In a generation where indie games have only become more prevalent, however, the Switch has managed to rack up a rather respectable amount of ports in such a short time. Utilizing the Switch's free range Joy-Con controllers and its portability, Semispheres comes alive in a way it simply can't on other consoles.

As a meditative puzzler, Semispheres has one main goal to prove: that it can offer a relaxing meditation session while also providing engaging puzzle solving. Puzzles are inherently therapeutic to an extent, but a puzzle video game should present a degree of challenge - and with challenge can come frustration.

Thankfully, the difficulty never reaches aggravating levels. Some puzzles do come off harder than others, but a focus on a key few mechanics means that the answer is never too out of reach. Though that isn't to say the answer is always easy to find.

Puzzle solving consists of utilizing two spheres, one blue and one yellow, to reach their individual goals. At the beginning of each puzzle, the stage splits off into identical halves. In theory, this would simply mean each puzzle would need to be solved twice to proceed but is far more gripping.

While each sphere is typically locked into their designated zone, they can interact with one another through the use of portals. These portals allow the sphere to exist in the other's stage so long as they remain within its small radius. As there are guards that occasionally patrol the stage and block paths, the sphere in the portal can use a sound-emitting technique that they pick up in order to distract the guards and allow the other sphere to pass.

Screenshot for Semispheres on Nintendo Switch

The spheres can also manually create their own portals if they're out of reach of the guards and need to emit sound to distract them. Since each sphere can only hold one item at a time, some of puzzle solving boils down to figuring out how to drop the portal while also backtracking to the sound emission without alerting the guards and losing progress.

Not every puzzle requires an intense level of foresight, but the best ones do promote strategic manoeuvres. While the campaign falls on the shorter side of games, the level of stealth present in each stage extends the length through legitimate difficulty. Along with that, since the main control scheme revolves around controlling both spheres with opposing analogue sticks, cooperative play is as simple as splitting the Joy-Con, adding some extra replay value.

Semispheres is one of the few multiplayer titles on the Switch where a lack of online play is not only a problem, it's for the best. Due to the warm colours and ambient soundtrack, it's easy to get lost in a trance while playing. For as hard as it gets, it does retain a meditative and relaxing quality. Since online multiplayer would require an outside source of communication, it would be easy to take these qualities for granted. The economy of the game expects a level of immersion, and it does a fantastic job creating a welcoming setting.

Screenshot for Semispheres on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

What Semispheres lacks in quantity it more than makes up for it with quality. It's entirely possible to get through every puzzle in just a few short hours, but a reasonably high skill threshold and thought-provoking design ensure the experience remains memorable from start to finish. By having each Joy-Con correspond with each sphere, multiplayer is incredibly natural and comfortable. For that alone, the Switch port comes off as the definitive version. With a truly meditative ambience and stellar puzzle design, Semispheres can be enjoyed in blissful solitude just as much as in the company of a good friend.

Developer

Vivid Helix

Publisher

Vivid Helix

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I really need to pick this up on something. Ever since I saw the trailer I've wanted to try it but I never bought it. Glad to hear it's so good.

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Adam Riley, Azuardo, Ofisil

There are 3 members online at the moment.