Towards the end of last year we had a chance to get our hands on it Filament, a particular title of the indie industry that is extremely promising, despite the various technical problems encountered in our preview. We are talking about a work developed by Beard Envy, a novice software house in the sector with a rather limited staff, which debuts on the market with this work. A few months later, we were able to play thoroughly with the latest version of Filament, after a polishing job was done and the software was finalized and made ready for debut. Filament, in fact, is already available starting today, given that the Q1 2020 launch window has been fully respected by the team. Let's see what this puzzle game is made of!
Walking around Alabaster
As mentioned in our preview, the idea of Filament is very close to what we saw with the famous The Witness. It is a game that sees all its luck in the puzzles, and which presents a cryptic and diluted narrative, but well calibrated considering the speed with which this is slowly hinted at, until it is completed. Everything does not happen with lively rhythms, on the contrary, since an aura of mystery and secrecy surrounds the entire adventure of the protagonist.
We are talking about a "simple" technician, however specialized in spaceships, who once landed on the ship where the adventure takes place, will find before him a disconcerting mystery, of which he will be made aware by an artificial intelligence. In fact, the entire crew seems to have evaporated, leaving behind only clues as to what may actually have happened, as well as something more. Let's talk about Juniper, a woman still on board the ship who will communicate with the protagonist throughout the adventure, without however being seen and thus leaving the player with the enormous doubt regarding the appearance of such characters.
However, as we advance, everything will become increasingly clear, and there will certainly be the necessary in-depth analysis for a truly engaging plot capable of creating curiosity like few other works. The script, however, will be continually cut from the gameplay that the developer wanted to investigate particularly, which strangely it does not fit fully with the narration brought to light. In all this, the character and charisma of the protagonist are practically not taken into consideration, but the tens of minutes in chat with Juniper they will make it more and more real, almost as if it were close to us and we could get to see it, also considering the excellent work done during the dubbing phase.
Filament's narrative presents just the right intensity and captivates the player with its mysterious and fascinating themes
Everything is then enriched by dozens of documents scattered around the ship with which we will be able to come across as we advance in the adventure, useful collectibles that will allow us to further deepen the history of this intriguing station and at the same time discover interesting curiosities that will often end up multiplying our questions without providing particularly concrete answers, guaranteeing however, a sense of immersion that is anything but negligible and rather iconic for the work.
The riddles of Filament
The infinite territory of Alabaster - which can be explored with a slightly exaggerated slowness even if adopted to fuel the dive - is full of puzzles to be completed to access further areas, which in most cases can also be skipped or experienced. in the order you prefer. Let's talk about a puzzle game, which could then take hours to solve a single riddle in the event that the player cannot find the solution immediately, a factor that obviously leads to guaranteeing several hours of play that are difficult to calculate but certainly more than consistent considering the price of the ticket widely made accessible.
The real flaw of the puzzles lies in their repetitiveness, in a basic idea that is simply brilliant but which, despite being varied and expanded from time to time, fails to guarantee new stimuli and sensations, leading in several cases to imagine being in a situation already seen even though this is not actually the case. The character, starting from a certain point in each level, must connect through his filaments of the pillars, to then unlock the exit and cut the rope for the next level.
While showing itself as a consistent and winning idea, the repetitiveness of the puzzles is unfortunately present, although these are still expanded with many mechanics.
The filaments are precisely the basis of the puzzles, since they will have to be analyzed and understood based on the physics that have been given to them, and if not well calibrated will block the passage of the protagonist, forcing the player to rephrase the solution. The formula is extremely innovative and functional, but with the increase of the colors on the screen and the possibilities, a certain sense of repetition will be felt in the long run rather annoying. A more expanded variety of puzzles, who had seen the use of filaments under other optics, would certainly have been able to give a breath of fresh air to the many hours of play possible. However, the system itself is solid and will put any player in trouble.
The software house has managed to refine and perfect its work in the technical and graphic sector
The gameplay tested in the very first version of the game was immediately convincing, contrary to some technical factors. However, all the numerous bugs present have now been reduced to the bone, and recur on more than sporadic and negligible occasions in the various in-game sections. We can say goodbye to the sparse menu with which we interfaced, because now many settings have been added and the graphics sector is finally customizable with enough options, ending up being even more pleasant. These are low-poly style textures, magnificently colored and gaudy, which acquire shades with the passing of the hours and capable of making Filament recognizable at first sight. The soundtrack is simply breathtaking, even if repetitive in the long run, and manages to discreetly accompany the user.