Thanks to Vivid Helix for the review code
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 09/14/2017
Out of the recent puzzles games I’ve covered for this site, Semispheres has to have the most unique presentation by far, as it directly impacts how the entire game is played! One side of the screen is dedicated to the Blue Wisp, while the other is dedicated to the Orange Wisp. The game starts on an interactive level select where both wisps have to enter a level at the same time, (showing the player how to clear a level) ditching a traditional menu, and the music is very soothing and relaxing, meant to give a peaceful zen vibe.
The main goal of each stage is to guide the two colored wisps to an exit hole on their side of the screen, avoiding the obstacles that impede their progress while using powerups to help the other side out in a pinch. The controls are as simple, simply requiring the use both analog sticks to move the wisps individually, with the ZL and ZR buttons activating the powerup respective to the side of the corresponding wisp.
While you progress throughout the thirteen sets of stages, you’ll run across two powerups that come into handy as the levels get more and more complicated, since the game will quickly throw stealth elements your way in no time at all. The first of these powerups is a sonar that will distract any enemy searchlight to follow the source of the noise, which combined with another other powerup, a portal that links to the other side of the field (less complicated than it sounds) can allow for one side to clear up the opposite side so that both wisps can safely sneak past the enemies. Those two aren’t the only powerups on in this game, either, as several more gradually reveal themselves as the stages progress.
Surprisingly, the stealth elements work remarkably well, and even as a guy who normally gets very stressed with stealth games, I found that the relaxing nature of the presentation combined with the short lengths of the stages (none of them are very long at all) really lead to a soothing experience. There also is a story that unfolds via cute little images after clearing each world, but it’s very minor and the whole mention of it would be a big spoiler due to the way it’s implemented, hence why I refrained from using the story section.
In conclusion, Semispheres doesn’t really reinvent the Binary Land concept of guiding two characters to the same goal, but it does throw in some clever level designs, a soothing presentation and ultimately ends up as a nice way to relax, being a perfect game to play right before going to bed. However, it should be noted that the game is fairly short despite having over sixty levels for you to travel through, and there’s not much of a reason to replay the experience once you complete it, so I strongly recommend that for the current MSRP of the game that you do what I did and play through it slowly in short bursts, taking your time and doing one set of levels every week or so.
The lack of the achievements from the other versions of the game don’t really make much of a difference in the Switch version of the game, since they were only for clearing the game’s thirteen sets of levels, so no matter what system you play this soothing game on, there’s not going to be too much content. Still, it is worth a look for the unique presentation alone, especially if you happen to see it on sale.
I give Semispheres a 7 out of 10.