Modus Games recently released Degrees of Separation, a multiplatform, 2D atmospheric puzzle game, and I took it out for a spin. While the visuals and puzzle solving gameplay are standouts, I found the game’s non-linear approach to progression to be a bit confusing in terms of how to unlock new levels to play. This is turn added some frustration to my overall experience, but I wouldn’t call it a terrible one in the least.
You can check out the full review below in video or scripted formats.
“Hey now fans of Indie games, Matt Heywood here from EntertainmentBuddha.com to review Degrees of Separation from Modus Games.
Degrees of Separation is a 2D atmospheric puzzle adventure game that plays on environmental mechanics to provide your brain with challenges to solve in a world that is split between hot and cold.
This is due to the main characters Ember and Rime, who are separated by a shimmering line, which splits their respective hot and cold properties equally across your screen. Therefore on Ember’s side you can use her heat to get past puzzles involving water you have to submerge yourself in, or a heat lantern that can raise a platform when warmed.
Then on Rime’s side you must deal with his coldness, which can also be used to progress through a level by freezing water, or lowering platforms by taking the heated air out of them.
This dual mechanic works quite well for puzzle solving, and does provide more than a few brain teasers to solve. In fact, if you have a friend nearby I recommend playing in the games local co-op mode, because then you both can solve the puzzles together, over just one person managing both characters to get the job done.
Degrees of Separation gameplay is definitely heavy on puzzle solving with light platforming involved, and its enhanced with the beautiful looking world Modus Games crafted. I really enjoyed how the world’s tones were split in two to reflect the dynamic of the lead characters. It definitely provides for some vibrant environments to encounter, so the world is quite beautiful overall.
Where Degrees of Separation goes south for me is in its non-linear design, which is usually a plus for most gamers, but I found it to be almost too non-linear.
Half the time I didn’t know where the hell I should be going, because you don’t have to progress through the main levels in order. Other times I found that levels that were considered to be earlier levels to play, were actually harder than later levels, so the non-linear progression system felt a bit wonky in terms of difficulty, as well as in terms of where you exactly need to go to find the next level.
I eventually found that the scarfs laying around the world weren’t just random pickups, rather they’re needed to open future levels, so I’m not sure how I missed that explanation, but overall I would have appreciated a bit more guidance in how to proceed.
Degrees of Separation is a pretty looking game that has solid puzzle gameplay elements to it, but its non-linear design tended to frustrate me, more than wow me with player choice freedoms. It definitely soured the experience a bit, because I am impatient, but for those who love open ended quest structures, you’ll probably appreciate the lack of hand holding in this game.
Degrees of Separation earns a 6 out of 10 review score from Team EB. It’s worth checking out if you love puzzle games and open ended level design, but if those mechanics aren’t your bag, you can probably pass on this one. Although, $20 isn’t a steep asking price, so it may be worth essentially a movie theater ticket to experience.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.”