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Membrane (Switch eShop) Review Mini

by Zachary Miller - March 2, 2018, 8:21 pm PST
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This is not my kind of game.

Membrane is a trippy puzzle platformer with a unique art style and the physics engine of Little Big Planet. I think most of us can agree that Little Big Planet was a great game except for that wonky physics engine. Jumping, in particular, never felt particularly precise. This was frustrating, but the rest of the game was so charming (the soundtrack is still amazing, by the way) that we suffered through it happily. Membrane has physics akin to Little Big Planet but lacks everything surrounding it.

You control a little yellow man who has a triangle for a head. Triangle Man can run around, jump, and fire little red squares from his noggin. These squares stick to black walls, certain environmental objects, and each other. You can aim by holding the L or R buttons, at which point a handy arc will appear to help you line up shots. Triangle Man can create bridges, ramps, support structures, etc. with his red square shots. If you feel the need to destroy one of your creations, you can also fire triangles, which knock red squares down and turn them yellow, where they return to Triangle Man’s body.

Triangle Man must deal with many environmental hazards like giant green balls that break green walls, poisonous water, actual water, icy walls that deflect your red squares, switches, spikes, balance beams, and a host of other things.

The problem is that Membrane is extremely freeform, but at the same time, it’s not. You go from puzzle room to puzzle room and have to figure out how to get from beginning to end with nothing but your wits. This is usually not terribly difficult, but there are some rooms—even fairly early rooms—that gave me way too much trouble because the solution was surprisingly constrained. This is also where the physics engine can give you trouble; difficult puzzles become more difficult when things like jumping and balancing on red blocks is inconsistent. One other thing that bothers me: Membrane goes by from room to room—you have to solve one before moving on to the next, which means that if you’re stuck in a particular room, there’s no way around it.

Overall, I just wasn’t enjoying the game, which is a problem. There’s definitely some inventive puzzling here, but I found the experience more frustrating than fun.

Summary

Pros
  • Interesting art style and good music
  • Inventive puzzle components
  • Many rooms are quite freeform
Cons
  • Can't move on if stuck in a room
  • Physics engine gave me headaches
  • Some rooms are unusually constrained

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Game Profile

Genre Puzzle
Developer
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Membrane
Release Feb 22, 2018
RatingEveryone

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