Just sit back, relax, and take a hit off this chill puzzle game, man.
Spending a few hours to go through the numerous puzzling challenges in the new Switch game Semispheres wasn’t necessarily mind-numbingly hard. While some levels in the meditative puzzle game do get challenging, some are overly simple, even in the late stages. Nevertheless, the effortless blend of peace and problems, of soothing melodies and tense moments, makes for an enjoyable experience that occasionally twists your mind, but mostly just makes for a chill time, even if it might not leave much of a lasting impact.
The hook behind Semispheres works very well for the design of the Joy-Con and the Switch, as you spend the entire game controlling two parallel worlds, one blue-tinged and the other orange. Each single-screen puzzle is split in two and you control a character on each side. Both are moved by their side’s analog stick, and the only other action is the shoulder button, which is used to deploy items you pick up in each level. The items help augment the world, as they can be used to draw out the enemy sentries or even provide ways for the characters to affect their opposite side.
The layout of the levels makes it easy to get lost in this world, just going from puzzle to puzzle until you hit a wall or you reach the end. For better or worse, it’s not a very long game, but it’s still a fulfilling one. The puzzles later on oft require you to be able to control both characters in parallel, usually executing deft moves and timely item deployment to avoid the sentries that will halt your progress. The deepest part of Semispheres is likely its music, which is arresting and peaceful, ideal for a thinking man’s puzzle game. What isn’t deep is how far the developer goes with the dueling worlds concept. As it started getting more out there and brain-bending, the journey started to end. Lots of promise can be found here, but the brevity of it all left me wanting a little more.
Still, if you want to sit back and relax with your Switch, Semispheres is an enjoyable and serene puzzler that is both soothing and tough. The lack of overall meat to the game is a little disappointing, but the ride is very much worthwhile as long as you’re okay with a shorter-than-expected time.