Gameplay is simple enough. You collect orbs that allow you to see which puzzles you’re supposed to solve; then you solve em. From the early going, Goo is able to dash and bang into stuff, which when doing so allows you to manipulate the world to solve puzzles. Semblance’s world is often full of mixed muted colors, but when you find a solid colored area, you’ll know you’re able to manipulate that piece of the world. After finding that, it’s up to you to figure out which way to smash into the world to solve the puzzle. Moves such as dashing into the bottom of the wall, bending the wall upward, and being able to slide your goo body right underneath are what will help you progress. Semblance also does a smart thing about halfway through in how it changes up the gameplay. Keeping it feeling fresh, Semblance adds lasers that will take you out immediately and areas where you aren’t able to use certain abilities. Another thing Semblance does that I found interesting comes a little after what feels like mid-game, and you begin manipulating your own goo self in order to solve the puzzles. So instead of smashing your face into a wall to bend it up, you’ll just smash your body into a pancake and try to slide under and around the puzzles. The puzzles are never that hard, but they’re not a cake walk either. There is enough here to warrant more playtime. I say this because the game clocks it at MAYBE a little over two hours. I wanted more.
Artistically, I enjoyed the aesthetics of Semblance. The level design and muted color palette really jumped out at me. I’m sure some people will feel the colors to be too bland, but I feel the game wouldn’t have the same feel if its world was colored differently. Goo’s world is in peril and should feel a sense of bleakness; it would be silly to have the landscape look like a Dr. Seuss book. Semblance balances the perfect amount of just enough color to satisfy the eye, but also enough creepy black silhouettes and stark white beady animal eyes peering through the forest. Along with the color scheme, the soundtrack and effects are spot on. Eerie beats help enhance the idea that Goo’s planet has become a different place than the one Goo is used to, and fun time is over.
Listen people, Semblance is good. Its art design is sharp, its puzzles are intelligent, it FEELS good to play, and Goo is the shit. Get a switch, get you some Semblance, have a sip of whiskey, and relax. Get on it.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Final Score: 9/10
+ Art design/Sound
+ Clever puzzle and game mechanics
- might run into a bug or two