Those in the know will instantly know what Digipen is, but for those who don’t, Digipen is a school for digital arts whose students have produced games such as Narbacular Drop, which later became Portal. So yeah, they’re pretty important. Digipen’s student’s latest hyped-up release is Perspective, a blend of 2D platforming and a first-person perspective.
Sounds confusing, right? Don’t worry, you’ll love it. Within the first few levels, you’re thrown quite softly into the main mechanic of the game- move your small blue character with WASD, left click, and change the perspective at will. Left click again and you go back to moving the blue character along the surfaces you just created. Blue surfaces are solid, orange surfaces are instant death and everything in between is open air. Get the blue character to the swirling portal, level complete. Standard game fare, but there’s so much in between starting and finishing a level.
Developer: Widdershins (DigiPen)
Distributor: Widdershins (DigiPen)
Release: December 12, 2012
MSRP: Free [Download Now]
Gameplay takes place with you controlling the small blue character as he escapes his arcade machine, and then proceeds to explore other machines and get through them as well. The second area of the game gives you a few more levels to explore, all of which had me scratching my head to figure out the solutions. Try to think of this game more of a platformer with a camera that moves than anything else, lest your brain melt out of your ears. It’s absolutely mind-breaking to see a character move from the background to the foreground and back again with the correct lineup of blue lights.
At first I thought this was the only mechanic in play, but this was quickly sliced through within the sixth level, The Pillar. You see, moving back and forth in first-person mode allows you to essentially zoom in and out on the environment and the character you control in it. Gravity has no hold on you while you’re moving in first-person mode, either. Combine these with the base Perspective shift, and this game takes on a form that makes you smile every step of the way through. You feel like an absolute genius, and I loved that. I wasn’t just solving a puzzle, I was using spacial reasoning.
What I love most about Perspective is that not only does it do something so radically and wholly different than has been seen before, it executes it to a degree that not only appeals to the player, but entices them to keep playing. The only thing I could possibly think to add to this game would be a time trial mode, or some sort of added puzzle element where you can only switch between your perspectives so many times. As a student project almost a year in the making from a team of eight people, this is absolutely brilliant. Nay, as a game I have had the honor of playing, this is absolutely brilliant.
Perspective is an experience that should not be missed. The game can be downloaded, for free, here.
[Written by contributor Frank Falcone]