Totem by Press Play for XB1/360 [Now with video]

“Brotherly love abounds in Press Play’s puzzle-platformer”

The next game from the developers of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (XB1/360/PC) and Tentacles Enter the Mind (coming soon to W8/WP8) due for release on XB1/360 in October 2014 – you can sign up for the closed beta via their website if the form starts working

  • Two playable protagonists
  • Toyed with the idea when putting finishing touches to Max: TCOB
  • Prototyped by two brothers and worked its way to the directors of the studio who liked it
  • Side scrolling colourful single player or co-op game – I like the art style

Set on a Tropical island your goal is to recover pieces of a Totem pole that once stood in your village, shattered by a Dark Shaman who killed the monument’s White Shaman guardian in the process, the pieces are now scattered

  • Retrieve the pieces by negotiating obstacle courses that make up the levels ensuring you both survive
  • Two paths – one for each character, early on its a split (one at the top one at the bottom) but they mix that up later in the game
  • Make use of the environment to work your way through puzzles that can affect the player on the other screen (e.g. blocking ones path so the other can get past)
  • When on the same plane you can stand on each others shoulders allowing you to double jump etc
  • The colour of the zones form the backdrop to the puzzle (purple and green single player or red and blue in co-op) and only the character matching the colour of the backdrop can pass through them
  • Swap the characters position with a button press

    The game delights in setting up patterns and then second-guessing your instinct, resulting in a death that will initially have you casting for someone to blame before concluding that its your fault – think of Limbo pressure plate operated crushers

  • A couple of falling sequences require extremely quick thinking as we plummet through alternating patterns
  • Tests your reactions
  • Achieves a pleasing balance between puzzle solving and switch platforming
  • Campaign split into three worlds each with its own special power
  • Only one revealed: Gravity – combines the basic swapping mechanic with inverted forces of attraction. Use to switch surfaces and it gets more difficult as time goes on requiring more precise button presses to to stay in the air and float through sections safely
  • Pickups help decide your final score and how many you collect will help decide what Totem piece you get (e.g. uninspiring piece of wood or colourful face sporting accoutrements such as sunglasses or a pipe)

Still in the early stages but the well weighted platforming feels satisfying and substantial

Co-op details “Twotem” (says local co-op no mention of online specifically)

  • Provides two characters for each player
  • One has two blue villagers the other two red
  • Can be stacked in any order
  • Single player combined quadruple jump becomes an octuple manoeuvre
  • Requires communication and each hurdle feels like a massive achievement but things can quickly disintegrate into disarray