Degrees Of Separation
- Genres : Platformer, Puzzle
- Publishers : Modus Games
- Payers : 1 -2
- Consoles : Nintendo Switch
- Languages : French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English
- Release date : February 14, 2019
First test of a two player games series: as a couple or with a friend. If like me you like to share your passion for video games, the games that you will find in this series of articles will be perfect for you.
I would have loved to have those sorts of games when I was a child to play with my little brother… But that’s no problem, I share my passion with my boyfriend nowadays.
The first game I selected is Degrees of Separation. It was released in Nintendo Switch the 14th February, just in time for Valentine’s Day… it must be a sign. No more jokes, its release for Valentine’s Day had the goal of underlining the fact that it was a game principally destined for couples and to put the cooperation aspect forward.
In short, I was immediately attracted by this game because of its watercolour graphics and the concept. So I proposed to my boyfriend to test it with me.
A few words on Degrees of Separation
The game is magnificent, the graphics, the story and the music are sumptuous. Degrees of Separation is a very poetic game specially developed for two players.
Even if a solo mode is available and well thought out, the gameplay is really originally made for two players. And it is a real pleasure to share this adventure in duo.
One of the players plays Ember, a princess that masters heat and the other Rime, a prince that masters cold. Those two heroes that everything opposes will meet one another after a strange dream in which each of them will have dreamt of the other’s kingdom.
Even though their opposed powers prevent them from touching each other, they will have to cooperate in order to overcome the many trials they will be faced with in order to save their respective worlds.
This beautiful story will be told to you during the entire game by a voice-over in English. You can also display the subtitles in different languages in order not to miss anything from it. The story is signed by Chris Avellone.
The game is entirely based and built around this story! From the title, to the gameplay, the graphics or even the musics, everything is made in order to illustrate the story and script the duality of the characters.
Ember and Rime, our two heroes evolve together in this universe in pastel colours that make me think of watercolours. The game is in two dimensions in a platform type on many levels.
The screen is split in two: one with warm colours under the influence of Ember, the other with cold colours under the influence of Rime. For example, the lakes freeze when Ember comes too close to them and that same ice melts when Ember approaches it… You will have to play with both of their powers in order to solve the enigmas of each levels.
The duo gameplay: Ember and Rime
The aim of the game is to collect scarves scattered across the levels. Those scarves will help you advance in the game by unlocking the next level. You will have to have enough scarves in order to open the door leading to your next adventure.
In order to help you do not forget that in each levels a star map will reveal their positions: before or after you on the map… This “map” is really useful and pretty.
Now that the aim of the game is defined, let’s get to the gameplay in itself.
I am going to principally talk about the two player gameplay, because it is because of this feature that I chose the game. The solo gameplay is also well thought out, be reassured. You will be able to play alone, but you will have to manipulate each character one after the other. The adventure might be a little longer if you play solo. To complete this game with two players, you will need between four and five hours to arrive to one of the possible endings.
As for the duo gameplay and the gameplay in itself, you have to know that it evolves with each level. Indeed, each level proposes a complementary power for Rime and Ember that you will have to learn to master.
In a first time, you and your partner have to play simply with the positioning of the two characters. You will have to bring heat or coldness to the correct place on the screen, use the ropes by using your weight or the weight of both characters in order to open the doors…
This first level is aimed to familiarise yourself with the particularity of each character and develop complicity between the players. Indeed, for each puzzle, you will need both characters to solve it. You will have to consult each other to understand how to solve the puzzle or to hope finishing the game.
The more enigmas you solve, the quicker you will be in your thinking understanding instinctively what the other player is trying to do. There are however cases that I would qualify as frustrating, because you cannot do anything apart waiting for your partner to do his/her work. They’re pretty rare and of course split between both players.
As I was telling you, the game is far from being boring, because the gameplay evolves with each level. In each level you will find an item that will give you a new power like build ice platforms in function of lines created by both of your powers, being able to go against the powers of the other character, swap them or even stifle your powers.
They are simple changes, but they bring a certain freshness to the different puzzles you will encounter.
Really, I loved the graphics ambiance of the game. Be it on the hot or cold side, the graphics are very well done and with gradient of colours adapted paying tribute to this beautiful story.
The animation of the characters makes them look like puppets. It’s as if the game was a book or a mini theatre for children and the storyteller is making those paper puppets representing the characters move thanks to strings or small sticks. This particularity surprised me at first, but in the end, it goes perfectly with the game’s universe.
The visual transition produced by the characters when they exchange their position are really well dealt with and offer a nice fluidity experience to the players. This duality between the cold and hot colours propose to the players to discover the landscapes of each level in two different perspectives.
The graphics are well thought out and well managed. The players have the impression of moving in a décor made from watercolour painting and that puts forward the poetical aspect of the game.
The sound ambiance of the game
I found the game pretty quiet compared to the majority of new games that are being released at the moment.
In Degrees of Separation, the music is natural. It is there to make the universe that the player is going through more lively. Sounds of forest with birds singing, sounds of water flowing, resonance of the steps in a cave… The music is soft and accompanies the action of the player.
There again, the music is perfectly adapted to the game and its story.
This game is a real pleasure to share. The characters evolve in sumptuous decors as if they were going through watercolour pictures. The ambiance is calm and relaxing thanks to the music and the puzzles well thought out.
It’s really an enjoyable game! Here no boss or whatever, just a beautiful story to discover as you go along your journey.
Even though it is a puzzle game, I think that Degrees of Separation is first and foremost a narrative game. The lifespan to manage to reach both endings is of about four to five hours in duo mode. A little more in solo mode. It’s a very nice lifespan pour a game in this style for about 20€.
I would recommend this game that I really enjoyed and had a lot of fun sharing.