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Filament Preview

Posted by GG Goblin On January - 17 - 2020

Solving complex electronic problems by guiding a little robot around a room filled with pillars.

 
It is the beginning of a new decade and as we look forward to whatever amazing advancements that the next ten years will bring, Kasedo Games and Beard Envy want gamers to solve a collection of puzzles on board the Alabaster research vessel in order to rescue Juniper and find out what has happened. Filament is set to offer some relaxing and interesting exploration, along with hundreds of ever more difficult puzzles, when it launches later this year. After spending some time with Filament, my brain may need to sleep for the rest of this new decade.

 


 
The story in Filament is set far in the future, and the player takes on the role of an unnamed space explorer who has happened upon the seemingly deserted research vessel, the Alabaster. It turns out that this ship is something of a big deal to the Filament Corporation, and so docking with it and finding out what has happened seems like a good idea. Setting foot on the Alabaster, the player will quickly come into contact with Juniper, presumably the sole survivor who is trapped somewhere aboard the ship. To reach Juniper and find out more information about what happened aboard the ship, the player will have to solve sets of puzzles in order to reinstate power supplies and unlock new areas of the ship.

 
The exploration side of things is fun and straight forward. The player is given the freedom to explore small areas of the ship and there will be all manner of things to collect and discover, building the back story for the Alabaster and its crew. Much of the narrative comes from Juniper who has one sided conversations with the player as they explore and solve puzzles.

 
While the exploration is enjoyable, the majority of the gameplay will come from the puzzles themselves. The player will come across nodes that contain puzzles to be solved, and each node will have a small number, maybe five or six, that the player will have to finish in order to unlock the node.

 
The puzzles themselves have a simple concept. The player will be given control of a small robot with a power cable attached. The room will have a number of pillars and an exit. To open the exit and complete the puzzle, the player will have to guide the little robot in such a way that the power cable is in contact with each of the pillars to power them up. At this point, the door will open and the robot can pass through. Puzzle complete.

 


 
This is a puzzle game though, and so things are not going to be that easy. The first complication is that, much like the Snake game, the robot cannot pass over the cable. This means the player will have to plan their route around the pillars, while also ensuring they approach the pillars from the right direction so the cable not only comes into contact with the pillars, but also doesn’t block the route to the exit, or further pillars. At this point, the puzzles are relaxing fun. The player is able to view the room from a top down point of view to plan more easily, and can rewind their robot or even restart the puzzle with a press of a button.

 
But then things start getting more complex. Rooms may have coloured pillars that need to be connected in groups, or pillars that will need to be powered in order. Touching an unpowered pillar may prevent the cable from providing power to other pillars. Walls may block a route, or sliding doors that require power in order to open and let the robot pass the cable through, all conspire to cause more brain ache for the player. There is a certain amount of freedom in the order that the player approaches the sets of puzzles, but coming across a seemingly impossible puzzle will bring the gameplay to a very sudden halt. At this point in the development, there is no hint system for the player, but hopefully something will be put in place before launch because the puzzles do get very difficult quite early in the game.

 
Or maybe it is just too early in the year for my brain to be functioning properly. Either way, up until my brain exploded from a particularly complex puzzle, Filament was proving to be a very enjoyable puzzle adventure. The exploration gives meaning to the puzzles and seems to be weaving an interesting narrative, with more than a little humour. While I may have become completely stuck on one of the puzzles, they are very well put together and great fun, and with more than 300 hundred puzzles planned for the finished game, players could be weaving their little robot through pillars for hours to come.

 


 
Filament is due to launch for PC, Mac and Linux in Q1 of 2020, so puzzle adventure fans shouldn’t have long to wait to get onboard of the Alabaster and start threading a cable. Filament has a great style, a tongue in cheek attitude and, as long as the developers can keep the puzzles varied enough, will prove to be an excellent puzzle game to start the new decade. Check out the Filament Steam page and keep watching for this great puzzle adventure.

 

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