Who doesn’t like a good puzzle game? They help keep your brain in check by tasking it with ever-increasingly difficult puzzles. Filament is one such game that also has a well-crafted story narrative included. You find yourself aboard an abandoned ship called the Alabaster. As to why it’s abandoned is unclear. Your objective, however, is to find out why. To do this, there are a series of puzzles you need to solve that take the form of nodes, let’s call them. With each puzzle solved, another more difficult puzzle will appear, which will get you one step closer to the truth. Published by Kasedo Games and developed by Beard Envy, Filament is set to release in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1 2020) for the PC.
Puzzle Solving in Space
The main focus of Filament is centred around the puzzles you find as you progress. You are essentially a little robot inside what looks like a machine. With a trailing stream of light, your task is to connect differing segments of pillars together to open doorways. Sounds simple, right? Well, in the beginning it is. You start with simple puzzles, testing the waters, so to speak. I completed a few and felt good that I was getting the hang of it. Then, the difficulty started to rise; not too much, but it was noticeable. As of this writing, I’m stuck on several puzzles. So, instead of lamenting over one particular puzzle for hours on end, I skipped over to another node and had a go at a different set of puzzles. Being able to solve these puzzles in whatever order I choose is a nice feature.
By swapping the puzzles up, it helps me to reset my thought process. By not being stuck for too long on one puzzle, I can come back to it in my own time. The only problem is that now I’m stuck on several puzzles and can’t seem to progress. Even with the help of my better half, we’re both scratching our collective noggins together at trying to solve these puzzles.
I have noticed a few minor issues with this game that need to be addressed. One is the frame rate. Now, I’ve been playing this preview of the game in full screen, and I have noticed that screen tearing is a major issue. There were no options for V-sync control, and after testing it on differing window modes (full-screen, windowed, windowed borderless), the full-screen option is the one most seriously affected by these frame rate issues. But I’m sure this will be addressed in the final version of the game. I also did notice that depending on how you navigate the levels, the light stream can be detached from your little robot avatar (this only happened a few times, but it was noticeable enough to mention).
The are positives to Filament though. The music feels like a familiar Final Fantasy piece, which sets my mind at ease. The narration of the story is delivered in a friendly and humorous manner, kind of like the early stages of Portal 2. The level design of the ship’s interior is gorgeous, ranging from rich, vibrant colours to dark, futuristic colour palettes of engine rooms and the like. Also, while you’re in the puzzle rooms, you have the ability to rewind time to undo any mistakes you may have made and reset the puzzle to start fresh. The function to also see the puzzles as a whole is a nice touch, although I would like to have this feature as a mini-map in the corner of the screen. It would help me keep track of the puzzle as I play (that’s a minor issue though).
All in all, a very pleasant preview of a game I’d be willing to buy. I didn’t see the option for controller support, but the developers have confirmed that it will be added so I’ll definitely try it out so I can kick back, relax on my couch and while away the hours just puzzle solving. Sounds like a pretty good Sunday afternoon to me.