By Alex "Scorpidvenom" Adriaens on January 14, 2020
Ever run around an abandoned space ship with a cable attached to you which helps you to solve puzzles? You haven't? Okay, I know it may sound a bit silly, right? Well, it is far from silly in Filament. In this game, you use small robots, each attached to a cable, to solve a vast selection of puzzles that are scattered throughout the various rooms of said abandoned space ship.
You can explore the ship almost completely at your leisure. There are around 300 puzzles that await you during your journey, which must be solved in order to progress further through the game. On the space ship, the Alabaster, there is one surviving crew member left; a woman called Juniper. As you explore the ship, you keep talking to Juniper from time to time, learning all about what happened to the Alabaster and its crew.
So, on to the puzzles. When interacting with certain machines in the environment, you get control over one of the aforementioned tiny robots, which you must now use to solve the puzzle at hand. In order to get to the next room, you must guide the robot around the environment and connect nodes using the power cable attached to its back. Each puzzle in Filament has a set of parameters that have to be fulfilled in order to be able to light all the nodes in the room and complete the puzzle. When this happens, you will be able to continue your journey.
Now, Filament has only one variety of puzzle, but that specific variety is expertly used to create a vast selection of challenging conundrums to wrap your head (and your cable) around. The puzzles are challenging and you'll really have to think ahead if you want to stand a chance of solving the tougher puzzles aboard the Alabaster. It's this level of challenge, together with the constant interaction with Juniper, which helps make Filament as interesting a game as it turned out to be.
While exploring the space ship, I truly got the feeling of being all alone in this dilapidated environment. The game is presented in a top-down view, which gives you an excellent view of the rooms and corridors you are exploring. While making your way through the Alabaster, you get a sense of just how vast this space ship actually is and you can even imagine what it would have been like when it was still in a good condition and teeming with life, as opposed to the run-down and utterly desolate remnant of a formerly glorious space-faring craft it is today.
You make use of your keyboard and mouse to navigate the ship, trying to solve puzzle after puzzle. In between puzzles, juniper will talk to you through the ship's intercom system, injecting a bit of life into the ever-present silence and giving you a sense of not being completely alone out here. The promise of someone else being aboard the ship also serves as a secondary incentive to keep going. You will definitely want to know who this Juniper is and maybe even meet her in person. This, as well as the intricacy with which the puzzles are created, will keep you wanting to finish them all.
Although I'm usually not much of a puzzler (except for Point 'n Click adventures), I really liked Filament. The game makes all the right choices when it comes to setting the scene, engaging the player and provide them with challenging puzzles. Some of the puzzles are truly hard to solve and there's no hint system to hold you by the hand and guide you to the correct solution. This one is all about you and how good you are at solving puzzles. The developers also did a really good job at presenting the space ship. It does have an slightly eerie feel to it and gives you the feeling of being all alone out there in the coldness of space.
So, if you are into challenging puzzle games with a cool story and narration, I can most definitely recommend that you give Filament a try, because it's nothing if not challenging and looks great at the same time. And, above all, it manages to entice you to keep trying to solve even the hardest puzzles, giving you that feeling of "Okay, let's try that just one more time!" The only downside to this game is that you'll have to wait a bit to play it, seeing as how the full release is set for somewhere in Q1 of 2020.