Surreal yet brilliant – that’s Humanity in a nutshell.
Developed by tha ltd. and Enhance, Humanity puts you in control of a Shiba Inu, composed of a brilliant bright white light. And to make things even more weird, you’re in charge of guiding droves of seemingly mindless humans to strange pillars of light that send them skyward. Why? You might find out if you manage to overcome the game’s devious challenges and pay attention to its absolutely bonkers story. But even if you don’t pay attention, you’re likely to have a lot of fun.
Part puzzle game, part action platformer, to progress through the story mode of Humanity you’ll need to complete a number of trials, grouped into sequences. As you’d expect, each trial is somewhat bite-sized, and also presents you with a unique conundrum to overcome. It’s the nature of Humanity‘s trials that make the game so brilliant, however; they’re just so innovative and varied.
On a basic level, you simply need to move around the playing area provided in each trial and place down markers that instruct the marching hordes of humans where to go. Place Turn markers in their path, for example, and you can change their direction, avoiding obstacles that may lead them to their death. Things get more complicated, however, when you start unlocking markers that can make humans jump, diverge their paths, or even change their properties, such as making them lighter.
Other gameplay elements are introduced over time to further tease those brain cells, too. Blocks need to be pushed, pressure pads walked over, and fans factored into your calculations. Some trials will also place restrictions on how many times you can use certain markers, and in some you won’t be able to place any markers after hitting a button that springs everything into motion. Humanity is a game in which you can’t get comfortable – it’s always making tweaks or adding new elements to make its trials unpredictable and fresh. Hell, eventually it even verges on becoming a stealth Star Wars game.
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Overcoming Humanity‘s campaign, an undertaking which will vary in length depending on how determined you are to complete its optional objectives and how frequently you use the in-game help system, will even see you face off against some bosses of sorts. For brief periods, you’ll be guiding your friendly hordes to destroy rather than ascend. Even though the mechanics remain the same, it makes an interesting change. These boss fights prove to be some of the game’s most teasing challenges, too.
Those who do try to master Humanity, bringing giant golden humanoids into their fold wherever possible and guiding them to exits, will unlock a wealth of extras. They’ll unlock customisation options for the human hordes, altering their clothing, giving them big heads or making them rather rectangular. The ability to change the music during a trial is up for grabs as well. And so you always feel rewarded for going the extra mile.
What’s really great is that Humanity makes it easy to try and better your performance. Restarting a trial is quick and easy, and you even have the option of leaving the markers you’ve already put down in place, allowing you to iterate on your solution. Combined with the ability to speed the action up, or momentarily pause everything and nosey around, it promotes experimentation. Even the most fiendish of trials can eventually be overcome via trial and error without seeking out a solution.
While we haven’t been able to make the most of the mode before launch, your fun with Humanity doesn’t have to end with the completion of its campaign, either. A trial creator allows players to create their own challenges before uploading them for others to complete. If it takes off, it’s safe to say that you could return to the game on a daily basis and find something new to do.
Humanity joins the stable of games published by Enhance that are weird and wonderful in all the right ways. Its abstract visual style, strange premise and trippy soundtrack all sit on top of its unique brain-teasing challenges, creating a game that quickly gets its hooks in you and doesn’t let go. For puzzle fans, or those who simply like their games out of the ordinary, this is a must-play.