Most indie titles released today tend to tick four boxes in terms of their content; puzzles, artistic merit, unique concepts and of course, simplicity. The reason for this I imagine is due mostly to the fact that none of the above take a whole lot of money nor a huge development team, but rely more or less entirely on individual members working tirelessly day and night. Schein is no exception to this trend and ticks each of the aforementioned boxes without hesitation, snuggling right into the cliché that so many of us adore.
Schein follows the brooding tale of a young, and rather well dressed man as he desperately tries to overcome his dread and despair in order to save his only son. Although we’ve yet to see all that much of the fascinating storyline, it is most definitely looking like it’ll be one of the deeper and more memorable experiences of late and has left me eager to see how it progresses and finishes.
If I were to be blunt, I would have to say that I don’t care much for most 2.5d platformers and honestly struggle to see the appeal of rendered models, especially when placed in conjunction with a good, honest and well shaded sprites. Despite my outward loathing of the style, Scheins aesthetic still managed to wriggle it’s way passed my hate and actually grew on me fairly swiftly, becoming something I look forward to seeing more of. Making great use of harsh lighting and contrast, the aesthetic delivers a highly cel-shaded experience that compliments the games atmosphere particularly well and really brings home the gloomy and somewhat mystical surroundings.
The main mechanic behind the title, and the aspect that most, if not all the puzzles revolve around is that of light, and more specifically different kinds of light. The way in which this mechanic is harnessed and used would be best described by saying that different things exist only in certain lights and only function whilst visible. An example of this would be a gear that only exists and operates under natural light, for instance. This, when mixed in with several more gears, platforms and barriers of varying visibilities creates some fairly interesting and well thought out puzzles, especially when you mix the whole thing up by introducing a good selection of different lights, which in turn illuminate (or hide) different things. All in all this unique mechanic is seemingly limitless and although the puzzles I experienced were fairly simple and straightforward, the potential for some real brain-achers was definitely evident.
The game has currently got a 2013 first quarter release date and from what I’ve seen thus far, it looks as if the title will be well received. Although I only had the opportunity to play a fairly small snippet of gameplay, Braid and Limbo were two games that instantly came to mind as a comparison point, each for their own reasons. The puzzles that I saw all played out in a fairly similar way to that of Braid, though obviously worked with Schein’s unique mechanic, whereas the atmosphere was more likeable to that of Limbo’s. All I can really say at this point in time is that should you be a fan of either of the two titles, or ‘most any quintessential indie title, then it’s definitely a game you should be looking forward to.
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