Have you ever wondered what the point of life is? Have you ever pondered about the purpose of humans? If so, developer Tha Ltd. has come up with an idea that will undoubtedly be unique to your thoughts on the matter, as shown in their latest title, Humanity, a puzzle-platformer that tasks players with leading scores of souls to salvation as a spiritual Shiba Inu.
The idea of Humanity is similar to that of Lemmings. You have a stream of humans that are mindless drones that walk in a sole direction without any intention of changing that, and it's up to you to command them and lead them on a path to safety. To do this, you get to wander around a 3D level as this Shiba Inu character, where you can place specific commands that will affect the way that humans act. For example, this could be as simple as telling them to turn left at a point, or could be more advanced, and revolve around making humans lighter to ensure they travel further before launching them across an open gap.
The point is that you need to get creative with your solutions in this game, as Humanity is all about besting scores of unique levels each with their own challenges and mechanics, which will be iterated and expanded on as the story progresses. At the start of the game, you only have very limited commands, but as the narrative unfolds, new commands and abilities allow you to lead and command the human stream in different ways, and even allows you to traverse levels in different ways as the Shiba Inu protagonist.
This is an ad:
Each level in the story mode seems to have a very specific solution, but you can add flair to this and approach things in your own way. Humanity isn't a game where creativity stands head and shoulder above anything else, but the option to let your creative talents shine is there. The fastest solution will never require much of a thought process, but if you intend to pick up the collectable golden guys along the way, you'll need to use weird and wonderful methods to reach the end goal - and this is something you're encouraged to do, as these golden individuals are both tied to unlocking new stages and acquiring new abilities that simply enhance the overall experience.
Be it simple cosmetic additions (such as equipping some humans with hats) all the way to new and specific abilities that enable you to more easily plan out and tackle a level (for example, being able to pause the stream of humans or determine what a switch does without needing to activate it first), the golden guys in Humanity are more than simple collectibles and side objectives, even if the game will attempt to tell you otherwise.
This is an ad:
The puzzling story mode - that teaches you about the game's mechanics - is just one of the ways to enjoy Humanity. Tha Ltd. has also launched this title with a creation suite that allows players to make their own levels and puzzles for other players to solve. Essentially, thanks to the influence of user-generated content features, there are a near infinite number of ways to enjoy this game, regardless of whether you want to build levels of your own or simply play someone else's creation.
And the reason why the UGC content works so well in Humanity is down to the fact that this is a very simple game to pick up and play. Of course there will be times where a puzzle completely baffles you and leaves you scratching your head for answers, but generally speaking, the core gameplay systems are so straightforward that you always can overcome the problem set out in front of you. That being said, if you do hit a wall, the solutions feature built-in can provide an answer, although only for the base puzzle and not for netting any golden guys along the way.
While Humanity is a fairly basic puzzling game, I was quite surprised by how well it runs in a performance sense on PC. I say this as at times there will be thousands of humans on-screen at once, and yet despite this being the case, the game never seems to miss a beat graphically or performance-wise. Considering how chaotic and crammed levels can become, this never ceased to amaze me.
All in all, Humanity is a fine puzzler that brings some unique challenges to a rather saturated genre. The puzzling and platforming mechanics keep the gameplay feeling fresh level after level, and the UGC focus means that you'll never tire of levels and challenges to overcome. For a game that looks to briefly explore the meaning of life and humanity's purpose, it's also a bizarre and weird take that is hard to be anything but captivated by. If you've been searching for a new puzzler to play around with, this one is definitely worth checking out.
8 / 10
Fun and unique puzzle mechanics. Plenty of content to check out thanks to UGC efforts. You play as a Shiba Inu, need we say more?