Weakless (Xbox One) Review

By Josh Di Falco 29.12.2019

Review for Weakless on Xbox One

While triple-A titles dominate the market with the tried-and-true formulas that work, it's up to the smaller studios to drive innovations. Punk Notion have developed an artistic and richly-stylised adventure with Weakless. Controlling two different root-looking characters, this is a puzzle-adventure title that centres around the themes of traversing through a world without two of the five senses. One of the characters, Deaf, cannot hear the world around him, while his comrade is Blind, and cannot see. While this is an interesting premise, how does Weakless manage to weave this together?

Weakless is a journey through the sensory realms, or rather a lack thereof, from two of the major senses. It focuses on adventuring through a fantasy-world in a typical third-person perspective. Blind and Deaf are two distinctly unique characters that live in a world filled with tree-like characters made from roots. Deaf can see the world as normal, but is muted to the natural sounds of the rich-world. Blind, on the other hand, can hear just fine, but is instead blind to the beauty of the surrounding world. For gameplay purposes, Blind cannot be purely blind, but instead can form part of the landscape by using his hearing to help him "visualise" the world in his immediate vicinity.

Screenshot for Weakless on Xbox One

The designs of the two playable characters is quite expressive and clever. Blind is a tall and calm character, with a band around his eyes to convey the fact that he is blind, while he wields a staff that he uses to help him sense the world. He can interact with instruments found throughout the world, which he can use to play sounds. Deaf, on the other hand is a short, child-like character that carries a backpack that holds his journal, which he uses to paint the world he sees around him, with a "light bulb" antenna protruding from his head. These two forms a bond over the adventure, as they rely on each other to traverse through the various puzzles and help guide each along.

The world they're in is called Hermitage, and it houses the Weavelings; the species of these two main characters and the rest of their village. Hermitage is a world filled with luscious forests, and an aged village that has spent many generations inhabiting this world. Without using any text or dialogue to convey context or emotions, this leaves a lot up to the design and artistry - and Weakless is rich with it. From the paint featured on the hands of Deaf due to his constant painting habits, Hermitage has an abundance of details within it that can only be truly appreciated from those who let themselves to stop and notice these details.

Screenshot for Weakless on Xbox One

Weakless's gameplay plays like a third-person platformer, minus the platforming elements. The world contains small puzzles that obstruct the main path, so completing these to further journey through the world is the aim of this title. When looking through the eyes of Deaf, the title is all-too familiar to other titles in the genre. However, when playing as Blind, the entire world just disappears. Instead, Blind can only "see" the immediate area where he's standing through a black-and-white lens. As he taps his staff on the floor, his world comes into focus momentarily, allowing Blind to navigate it a little bit better. While playing through the eyes of Blind is an interesting dynamic, playing as Deaf will more likely be the preferred option as he can see the world normally.

Screenshot for Weakless on Xbox One

The puzzles themselves aren't hard to play through - this is a relaxing title without any sense of danger or harm. Puzzles are designed to allow Deaf and Blind to use their strengths to help each other through obstacles, and nothing is too difficult to figure out. At times, Weakless may put Blind and Deaf on two different paths, where one must hit switches or light up the roots to allow the other safe passage. However, sometimes there is difficulty when playing as Blind as he doesn't have any sense of sight to help him.

There is one instance where Deaf is stuck on a conveyor belt maze, and Blind has to tap the right switches in order to help Deaf find the right conveyer belt path to the next area. Because Blind cannot actively see Deaf, except for a small "blot" in his vision that is transparent through the stages, so these types of puzzles become unnecessarily tricky. As with third-person platformers of old, the camera is also troublesome at times. Because Deaf is shorter than Blind, the latter ends up aimlessly following Deaf, though his large antennas often block the camera. Funnily enough, this makes viewing the world harder for Deaf, as he has to then contend with ensuring the camera avoids letting Blind obscuring his vision.

Screenshot for Weakless on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Other than the common camera issues, Weakless is an interesting experience that does a great job of expressing two characters and how they view the world. Sight and sound are senses that are often taken for granted in other titles, so having an adventure that allows both, but not at the same time, makes for an interesting puzzler. Puzzles aren't too extreme and are easy to figure out and solve. Rather than treating this as a 'game,' think of it more as an experience instead, as it does away with the typical game-y aspects, to focus on exploring a world with the sensory disadvantages.

Developer

Punk Notion

Publisher

Punk Notion

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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