Samsara Deluxe Ed.
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Every once in a while a game comes along that’s so demanding on your brain that it completely confuddles your cerebellum that you start to question which way is up and which way is down. Samsara is just such a game.
Spawned from the devious minds at Marker, Samsara is an exquisite looking puzzler about a young lad named Zee who foolishly follows a squirrel into a portal and finds himself in an upside down, topsy-turvy world that he must traverse in order to free himself.
The puzzles start off easy enough, to lull you into a false sense of security that this is going to be an easy game, however, it doesn’t take long for them to increase in difficulty to the point that you’re clawing your eyes out in frustration and pleading with the other members of your household for help.
Each scenario sees Zee perilously positioned with his end game simply to get to the portal at the other side of the screen. However, there are gaps between platforms that you need to fill with different shaped blocks and staircases, and eventually an entirely contrary upside-down world with a dark version of Zee that you need to rescue simultaneously.
At various times, simply giving Zee the right layout isn’t enough. You have to be clever and place the blocks in both the real world and the upside-down world to create the right shaped escape routes for both boys. It’s as hard to explain in words as it is to master the gameplay, but in both instances, it’s worthy of your patience.
Don’t be put off by this writer’s own lack of puzzle-solving skills though. Samsara is a gorgeous looking game, that handles great and utilises some stunning mechanics to deliver a worthwhile and extremely fun experience. There are enough puzzles that you can fly through to keep you invested when things get harder when you finally complete a harder level it’s enough of a thrill (and relief) that you’ll battle on in the hope of completing all 72 levels.
If you’re a pro-puzzler then Samsara might not be difficult enough for you. Sure it’ll get you thinking, but you might find that its simplistic approach gets old quickly and you’ll have it solved in a single evening. For those of us whose brains need a little more … help … in getting going though, it’s exactly what you need to shake off the rust and cobwebs and get the old brain cogs turning one more.
You might find harder puzzle games on the Nintendo Switch, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that looks and plays as beautifully as Samsara.
Beard Score: 6.5/10
Nintendo Switch Essentials:
Platform: Steam, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 31/12/2018
No. of Players: 1
Category: Puzzle, Strategy
Publisher: Marker Limited
Download link: eShop