BACKWORLDS (PREVIEW BUILD)
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on September 6, 2018
During our time at this year's Gamescom, we came across a puzzle platform game called Backworlds. We played the demo quite a bit and liked what we saw. Now, only a few weeks later, it's time to delve a little deeper into the matter! A big thank you goes out to the great developers of this game, who were kind enough to send me a preview build. So, let's take a look, shall we?
Backworlds lets you take the role of a cute looking cat with two tails. You can make this feline fellow move left or right by pressing the appropriate button on your keyboard. You can also make it jump by pressing the Spacebar. The cat can interact with objects by using the W button, enabling it to push or pull stone slabs, flip switches or even pick up some objects. While this already makes for a lot of fun gameplay, the real cool feature is controlled by using your mouse. When you start to play Backworlds, you will notice a green spot on your screen, which you can move around with the mouse. You can even make it bigger or smaller by using the mouse's scroll wheel.
Now, this in itself might be no jaw-dropper, but wait; here comes the kicker! By clicking either the left or right mouse button you can make objects appear or disappear, because you're actually can actually move between two separate dimensions! Rocks and stone slabs are found everywhere throughout the levels. Sometimes, they're already visible and, to be able to continue your way, you'll have to make them disappear. Just click and hold the left Mouse button and move your cursor across the object in question and it will magically vanish. At other times, you might need to reach a higher place, but our cool kitty can't jump high enough. Take a good at your screen and see if by any chance there's a faint imprint of a rock visible. If so, click and hold the right mouse button and make it appear. Now you can use it as a stepping stone! Get the idea?
The goal of each level is to collect shiny and colorful blobs of mysterious material. When you have collected enough of them, a gate somewhere in the level opens and you can continue your adventure. Now, not every gate needs exactly the same number of blobs in order for it to open. Some might need only two or three of them, while others might need as much as twelve blobs to let you pass. Now, collecting all the pieces in the level is much easier when you know where they are, right? Luckily, the developers of Backworlds had the same idea! So, if you ever find yourself at a loss for the location of the next blob, just hit the Escape button. This will bring up your map, which can be used to locate entrances to other parts of the level, the key-blobs and even cool portals that enable you to travel to certain points in the level in no time flat. If you just want to get your bearings real quick, you can also hit the Tab button, which will bring up a mini map in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
Backworlds is a puzzle game at heart and, as is often the case when it comes to this genre, the game is non-violent. So there will be enemies but they will not viciously wound your cute cat. There are "enemies" in the game, but as long as you stay away from them, nothing happens. When you get to close, they will come at you and push you back, but that's the extent of damage done. The enemies are of a breed that I can best describe as a mix between birds and seashells. They can really get in your way while trying to get to your goal. I thought I was smart about it and tried to remove them from the equation by removing their paint, but this did not make the enemies disappear. It is, however, possible to trap them. Now, I won't tell you how, but it is possible. At other times, need to find a way around them or avoid them altogether. At a later stage of the game, they're even a much needed part of a puzzle's solution!
Backworlds look really cute and the hand painted artwork is relatively simple but truly amazing. At times, it looks as if it came straight out of a children's book. Or even as a child's drawing, provided that the kid in question could draw really well! And please don't let this simple look fool you, Backworlds is a real tough nut to crack; you will be wracking your brain for a solution on a regular basis, sometimes (as was the case for me) while shouting out "oh man, this is hard!" The soundtrack is soothing and enhances the light-hearted feel of the game considerably. There's no time pressure whatsoever when solving the puzzles, so you can just really sit back and relax, while having tons of fun getting through the environments.
In this preview build, most of the first "stage" of the game is playable. I remember only needing three shiny blobs to open the gate during the Gamescom demo, but now I had collect twelve! I had a lot of fun, but because of the fact that puzzles with spatial awareness are really not my forte, I asked Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams to help me. So we actually played this game together and had a great time. Backworlds is scheduled for release somewhere in early 2019, and we can hardly wait to see what the full game will be like. According to the images I saw, there will be a couple more awesome features! I like the fact that the game is filled with original and brain-bashing puzzles and man, that cat sure looks awfully cute!
BACKWORLDS (PREVIEW BUILD)
TBA - early 2019