Indie

Another Perspective Review

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Another Perspective, an indie puzzle platformer from indie game designer Shaun Spalding (with music by Matthew Harrington and character art by Hannah Pretswell), is one of the oddest games of this genre that I have played in some time.  The gameplay is straightforward enough- with a character and world shifting mechanic that works well in most cases- but it is the meta narrative of Another Perspective that truly sets it apart.  Never before has a puzzle platformer made me question the nature and artifice of a game, and really pushed me to play through not just the story, but all the bonus challenge rooms as well, ultimately leaving me wanting for more in the best way.

SO MANY KEYS!

SO MANY KEYS!

The game opens slowly, with the first handful of rooms not really being puzzles, but more like light tutorials, getting you used to the small number of mechanics you have at your disposal.  These mechanics revolve mainly around shifting between two or more copies of the nameless main character.  When you shift, the copy of the character that you shift from will freeze wherever you leave him.  This becomes very important, as the rooms begin to shift along with the player, and the placements of each copy of the character mean very different things for each “version” of the puzzle room.  For example, one room may have a set of stairs leading to a key, but that copy of the character with stair access cannot collect the key.  Shift to the other copy, and the staircase disappears, but you have to collect the key with that copy.  These brain-bending situations are the core of Another Perspective, and it is very satisfying to get through each room, using different versions of yourself as makeshift platforms.


If no unicorns is indeed the point, then I disagree with this game on a philosophical level.

If no unicorns is indeed the point, then I disagree with this game on a philosophical level.

The simplicity of this mechanic is misleading, as it becomes very tricky as the different versions of the puzzle rooms become more and more layered, and the interplay between each player copy is harder to see.  Disappearing and reappearing blocks, and different sized player copies also come into play, further obfuscating the right path to take each version of yourself.  But even when the game begins to frustrate, it never feels cheap or unfair, and the interesting narrative at play drives you to make it through the next puzzle to see what the narrator is going to say next.

Things get pretty complicated.  And the game continuously asks you: what is the point?

Things get pretty complicated. And the game continuously asks you: what is the point?

 

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