Semblance (opens in new tab) is a pretty puzzle-platformer where your character—an adorable blobby thing named Squish—and everything else is made of soft, squishable dough. Well, everything except for the parts of the world that have been infected by horrible crystals that feed off the world's softness. Anyone who played with playdough as a kid can tell you that nothing kills the fun like hard, dry dough, to say nothing of horrible crystals, which is why ol' Squish needs to save the day by solving some inventive puzzles.
This beautiful, moldable world is Semblance's central and most intriguing idea. By ramming and pounding soft platforms, Squish can literally shape the world around him, raising and contorting platforms to fit the situation. You can force dough upward to block a harmful laser or create a bridge above some deadly crystals, or stretch a platform out like a rubber-band and then reset it to use it as a slingshot. It's a clever, intuitive system that teaches you to think differently and, together with Squish's dash, gives every puzzle multiple solutions that test your reflexes as well as your brain.
I should know, I played a bit of Semblance at GDC. I didn't play much, but what I did play was more than enough to embed the game in my memory, which is pretty impressive given the conditions, and indeed the condition, in which I played it.
There I was, weary, jet-lagged and wandering aimlessly through a crowded, noisy indie event, when Ben Myres, co-founder of Semblance developer Nyamakop, tapped me on the shoulder.
"You look lost," he said. He'd never been more right. "You look like you need a game," he continued. Again, he was dead-on. "You look like you need this shit right here," he said, gesturing to Semblance's demo. And I'll be damned if he wasn't right.
Semblance is both a clever toy to play with and a fiendish puzzle to solve, and I look forward to playing more of it when it releases later this year.