Games Radar — July 26, 2018

The story behind Semblance, a wonderfully inventive Switch platformer that grew out of a glitch

by Sam Prell

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Semblance is a game that requires a shift in thinking. Boiled down to its most basic ingredients, you could simply label it a 2D platformer. But where other platformers challenge you to time your movement with the level, it's the inverse in Semblance; in this world, you can change the terrain to suit your needs, shaping yourself and the environment around you to solve puzzles and reach your goal.

It's an almost poetic parallel with the game's own real-world development.

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Created by Nyamakop, an independent studio based in South Africa, Semblance began as a small-scale game with more traditional designs. "Originally this was a prototype by Cukia 'Sugar' Kimani, during our final year of university," Semblance designer Ben Myres explained to GamesRadar+. "I came on board to do levels. Back then, and for about a year of its existence, the entire game was just about the character changing shape.

"You could get flat, tall, or square in your normal shape. This was fun, but we struggled to figure out where it could go. During this experimentation, we wanted the whole world to feel soft - to make sense for this pliable character to exist in." Myres said the world featured both 'hard' and 'soft' platforms. Squish, the playable character, would change shape when it dashed into a hard surface, while soft surfaces would dent slightly before popping back into shape. Before long, Myres had what he describes as a a nagging, "stupid" idea: what if he and Kimani put a hard platform underneath a soft one?


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