Degrees of Separation – XBOX One Review
Recently I’ve played quite a few games with varying implementations of controlling two characters working together, there have been varying degrees of success and very different approaches to the style.
Degrees of Separation takes the form of a puzzle game where your two controllable characters work together, Ember and Rime, Ember’s world takes the form of warmth and colour with her manipulating heat and Rime’s world cold and white with him freezing everything he passes near.
The screen is split and twists around to keep the relevant character in their own world, neither will pass into the other world.
Ember can light lights which will cause platforms to rise and Rime will cause them to extinguish and fall, likewise Rime will push snowballs which will gain more snow and grow in size while Ember will walk past and cause the snowball to melt.
The concept is good and provokes thought on how to approach puzzles as you work your way through the world, as you travel there are a number of scarves in each level which you can collect.
The game mechanics and puzzles are obviously written for this to be played as a co-operative game with two players working together to solve the problems and like another game I recently reviewed in 39 Days to Mars a lot of the same issues arise, in this case the control scheme for one player playing solo is a little more logical and easier to learn.
The problem with the controls comes more from the fact that the characters movement and animation seems a little light and floaty, another hinderance comes back to the split between the worlds and the way that the separated screens interact with the characters, it will often get in the way of you solving puzzles which is then made worse by you expecting the AI to help you out with the other character, in reality that other candidates stands there and looks blankly at you while you struggle.
Visually the game looks nice and the sound fits well with the style but it will never wow you.
Overall the game is a fairly run of the mill platform puzzle with the added complication and hinderance of controlling the two contrasting characters, initially the puzzles are ok and the game draws you in but with the complete lack of any form of tutorial around the puzzle elements, the huge amount of scarves to collect (which is where you will get achievements) and the frustration that mounts throughout this makes the game just a fairly average affair.
If you really like puzzlers then it will have something for you but be prepared for the odd frustration. And also bear in mind whether you will be playing this solo or linked up with a friend, the latter will probably keep your blood pressure down a touch.
Many thanks to Dead Good Media for the review code.