Sephonie is the latest title from the minds behind Anodyne 1 and 2 and Even The Ocean, more thought-provoking narrative with a spot of platforming sounds good to me!
Sephonie is a 3D adventure platformer game with more in common with Even The Ocean than Anodyne 2 where the art direction and graphics make it look like a sequel.
Sephonie puts you in control of 3 researchers who through bad luck end up stranded on a mysterious island surrounded by an even more mysterious force field with the task of researching the flora and the fauna as any good man or woman of science would do.
The story takes quite a few turns from here and is quite a deep and thought-provoking narrative, while expected from this team it blew me out of the water with how well it was written.
As you progress through the game and learn more about the island of Sephonie and its inhabitants you learn more about the characters, their life experiences, and what eventually brought them to the island. It’s a thought-provoking narrative and exactly the kind of quirky but gripping tale I’ve come to expect from this development team.
So as mentioned briefly Sephonie is a 3D platformer game, if you’ve played Anodyne 2 think along the lines of the 3D exploration section, if you haven’t then any 3D platformer is a reasonable comparison.
The main quirk/gimmick in Sephonie is that it has a focus on wall-running/air dashing and other movement abilities to make it feel almost like a skateboarding game in how you traverse the island of Sephonie, these abilities open up throughout the game meaning the initial couple of hours are quite deceptive.
The focus of the game is researching the creatures of the island and uncovering the mysterious events that brought you here, to do this you use a piece of equipment called ONYX, which forms the other half of the gameplay with a Tetrisesque mini-game that gradually gets more and more rules the further in you get.
The object of the game is to fill up as much of the play area as possible which fills the research meter, this is prevented by tiles that have special requirements. If you take too many turns to fill the meter to a specific level you’ll take damage, while there isn’t a “Game Over” in Sephonie you’ll be kicked out of the puzzle and have to try it again should you fail.
Sephonie is an unusual title and one that is quite difficult to write about, it has a Speedrunning mode for people who enjoy the traversal and the puzzle gameplay married with the fun platforming does give gamers a very good time, it has a pleasing PS1, minimalistic graphical style to it and some outstanding music to accompany the gameplay. It’s a peaceful game with a lot to discover and an amazing narrative to follow where you’ll find yourself itching to unlock everything so you can discover more.
While all the above is great, I find Sephonie a difficult title to suggest to anyone who isn’t familiar with the developer’s previous titles, it’s a quirk amalgamation of Even The Ocean and Anodyne 2 and I feel that unless you are really into either of those titles, Sephonie might be a little “too out there” for more casual gamers.
If you are a fan of Anodyne and Even the Ocean, you need this title, on the flip side if you do enjoy quirky indie titles or something a little different, Sephonie is an island you really should book a visit to!