As game development becomes a more widespread industry with schools offering courses for aspiring developers, there are a few places on the planet that are becoming famous for specializing in this field. One of those places is Digipen, wherein students learn from the best. Titles such as Narbacular Drop, which is said to be the inspiration for the hit Valve title Portal, came from Digipen. That’s quite a reputation to build up from, and Digipen students are at it again with Perspective, a free 2D platforming game that will bend your brain in every direction.
There are other platformers that have this multiple perspective concept, the most well-known one being Phil Fish’s Fez, which was in development for a grueling five years. It’s still something that developers are continuing to explore, and Perspective (with a capital P) is one of the better examples as it’s free to download on the PC and is actually pretty good.
The player takes control of a tiny blue character escaping the arcade machine he was from, which sounds like the premise for the movie Wreck-It Ralph. As you proceed through each level, you can rotate the camera in order to find another way to go forward if you get stuck. This gives the player another challenge in making sense of the level’s overall structure as he runs and rotates around in a dizzying display of platforming madness.
The controls are easy enough to understand, especially if you’ve played other platformers on the PC like the Trine series. You move with WASD and change perspectives with the left mouse button. Different colored surfaces represent different environmental features, namely blue for walkable surfaces and orange for instant death. Everything else is open and the destination is the portal at the end of the level. It all seems pretty simple on paper, but it’s when you start twisting stuff around where the game starts becoming more confusing.
In the later levels, more mechanics are added in to ramp up the difficulty. Players can then zoom in to first person mode and out of it at will. In first person, gravity becomes negligible, so you can jump over obstacles and have more options to negotiate the level. The key to playing Perspective well is in combining the sidescrolling mode with the first person mode to find the best way to the end of the level.
Perhaps what makes this game great is how it makes players feel smart whenever they finish a level, especially the later ones. The fact that the mechanics are in itself the puzzle makes the game automatically a puzzle platformer. Too bad that there’s no level editor where you can create your own challenging levels to give other players a run for their money. That would have made this game even more fun and added much more replay value.
Nonetheless, this game is quite an offering from the folks at Digipen, and they were quite generous to make it free to download. There is no reason not to try this game out, especially if you’re a platforming fan. It’s available for free in this link.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8/10