released on Apr 12, 2022
In this story-driven 3D platformer, explore Sephonie Island's massive cave network, and link with unidentified species using the novel Puzzle Grid system. Explore the island's depths as shipwrecked biologists Amy, Ing-wen, and Riyou, whose personal histories come to bear on the shifting spiritual landscape of the island depths.
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90% atmosphere, 10% gameplay
Stunning visuals, great music, interesting dialogue, confusing plot, kinda bad platforming, poor level design
Unfortunately, I also found the core puzzle gameplay to be a little samey and easy, although it suddenly picked up a bit and got very interesting towards the end, though was very under-explored. Same with the platforming! Some of the best stuff is in the last 15 mins or so of gameplay, which sucks!
Nothing too unusual for an Analgesic game, but games like this, with nontraditional characters and unorthodox game design choices, can't be found anywhere else, so I'm glad it exists.
The story and character were fine, but I didn't like the act of playing this game, whether it was the platforming or the puzzle sections...they both felt tedious.
A puzzle and platforming game (not a puzzle-platformer) surrounding an unconventional sci-fi workplace drama. Three scientists confront the red tape of international research, the constraints of careerism, the material content of their lives, their relationship with each other, and also an emerging alien existential and viral threat to the planet. I had a lot of apprehension at the size of this game and the breadth of subject matter is pulling in, but this is maybe my favorite container for the Analgesic team's prose. Some of the jumps fucking blow and the camera is a constant antagonist as it always is in our current era of 3D platformers, but the accessibility options offer a wide gradient of curating difficulty such that anyone should have a good time.
Moving between methodical platforming to color match puzzle games is, at once, disorienting and perfectly connected. The emotional overture of this game is largely about the capability for adaptation all life has and the eventual ease of snapping between disparate Video Game Challenges drives this home so so well. The whole "middle class people with a lot of resources realize they can imagine and design actionable steps for a better world" will always be a weak narrative goal for me, but the kind of dilemmas of the workplace and nationalism that haunt these characters is delivered in the described gameplay loop that has linked the often overly-dreamlike prose to reality.
It had an interesting story, and the puzzles were surprisingly enjoyable, but the platforming did not feel good
i really liked anodyne 1 and 2 not only because they were great games but because i thought they pushed me right exactly to my skill level; unfortunately, sephonie has surpassed my skill ceiling.
it clearly has the stuff i love. writing with heart about little-discussed themes around ecology and being in relationship with nature. the platforming is unique, the level design is tantalizing, and hey, they even have the accessibility controls to tweak it in a way that means i could theoretically see this to the end.
i'm just.... not.... going to? i don't think? maybe i'll come back later?
After playing Anodyne 1 and 2 this game was an immediate let down to me because how awkward and jank the controls are, mainly how awkward the run mechanics are because you're essentially like a bull in a china shop. This game would have much better served having a more traditional 3-D plaftformer control scheme. Really if ain't broke don't fix it and the devs trying to make this game controls more "unique" just soured the game for me, which is a shame because it seemed to have strong atmosphere from the jump. Getting a Steam refund while I can.