“Degrees of Separation” is a Lovely Cooperative Experience that Should Last Longer – Review

I picked up a copy of Degrees of Separation for the Switch when it was on sale a couple of weeks ago. I’d been looking for a game to play cooperatively with my partner (who doesn’t play regularly) and I think I found the perfect experience.

The game was made by Norwegian developer Moondrop Studios and published by Modus Games back in February of this year and while I’d heard a little about it, I can’t say that many people were talking about it.

Pros

  • Gameplay
  • Level design
  • Abilities

Cons

  • Length
  • Animation

Ember and Rime inhabit a warm and cold world respectively. While the two controllable characters can exist on the same screen, they cannot touch each other. This creates a boundary that divides the screen between the two characters with one half existing in Rime’s world and the other half existing in Ember’s.

The gameplay involves each player (though you can play one player) positioning their character so that the resulting divide affects the world around them. For example, there are lamps that will raise platforms with the warmth of Ember’s world and descend with the cold of Rime’s. By working together, the players can make their way through the world, collecting the necessary scarves to open up the access to the later levels.

The enjoyable gameplay is supported by great level design. Each particular level, which is linked by a hub world known as The Castle, has its own particular mechanic or ability. These special abilities build upon the players’ understanding of the main mechanic and challenge them to manipulate the world and its physics to reach seemingly unreachable collectibles.

Visually, the game looks nice. The division between worlds means that you’re constantly looking at a screen that’s a beautiful blend of warm oranges and cool blues. However, the animation occasionally tends to let these visuals down.

While there is a story creating a reason for this world and scenario to exist, I didn’t find it to be at all necessary. The game would still be very enjoyable without it and you can work out what you need to do without even really needing to listen to the narrative, something I found myself regularly doing.

Sadly for the game, though, it’s quite short. It seems to be over just as you really start to get into it. With the main story lasting between 3 and 4 hours, even with someone who rarely plays games, it results in an unsatisfying feeling upon completion.

The Verdict

Degrees of Separation is great and has unique gameplay that can still be enjoyed by inexperienced players. Since most of the game’s difficulty comes from working out the solution to problems rather than executing them, players of all levels are welcome to give it a try. Though the asking price might seem a little high given how short it is, if you see it on sale, I recommend you go for it!

Degrees of Separation is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

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