Help little squares survive in an endless stream of bad.
Last year at Gamescom, I came into contact with a game called DERU: The Art of Cooperation. The game, made by INK KIT studios, was one of the biggest surprises during last year's show. As the title implies, this is all about working together and helping each other to a goal. Each player takes control of a shape, moves it across the stage, and tries to make it to the end safely. In most levels, one player is tasked with blocking streams from the opposite color. This allows for a safe passage to the other side and you are constantly switching turns to make it through together.
The way that DERU makes it interesting is by throwing constant twists in the level design. Early level has easy pass throughs that have singular or rather static lines, but that becomes tricky as you go along. A good example is how multiple streams of the same color come into play. You basically give or take some essence from the other player, allowing you to shrink and grow in size. Growing or shrinking has effects on how you move about, so pushing forward with care is of absolute importance.
The paths to the end goals become riskier. Sometimes you have to guide your friend all the way across the screen to win. Other moments come down to timing, and ensuring that you move at the right moment. In one of the levels, a stream needs to be blocked to stop a color filled switch long enough to carry on. Another sees you pushing a block in front of a stream so that multiple could be stopped at once. DERU comes down to teamwork, going over your options and coming together as a team.
While co-op is the intended way to play DERU, you can technically play it alone. In this mode you will need to move around both shapes at once. With Joy-Con at the ready, every tiny bit of timing needs to be done alone. If someone can beat this alone, that would be an incredible feat, but it sounds more frustrating than actually enjoyable. A good example is how there are a few levels with some tight spaces. I feel that alone, it may come down to sheer luck to get yourself through safely. There is a pureness of coming together to reach a common goal.
DERU: The Art of Cooperation finally has a release window. While the game was originally planned to be released last year, the team came up with more ideas for levels. This was clear from the demo as every level added new wrinkles that made it an inventive puzzler. DERU, now scheduled for an October 2018 release, is a game that should be experienced. There is something absolutely mesmerizing about making the paths and nailing the timing. Next month can't come soon enough!