It is always nice to get a break from the normal triple-A titles out there and get a fun little thing like Degrees Of Separation mixed into the gaming loop. This is the latest title from Moondrop that takes the traditional platforming model and turns it on its side a bit. Not too drastically, but enough to catch the eyes of many and make Degrees Of Separation stand out from other titles. At least that is the idea behind it all. Here is our review on just how well this all worked for the game and if you should pick it up on your PS4, Xbox One, Switch, or PC.
Get ready to be whisked away to a new world where two people, Rime and Ember, find themselves where their own worlds are colliding. That is, Ember comes from a world dominated by warmth and vibrancy and Rime from a cold world that freezes everything instantly. Something that keeps them separated in this new land as they traverse the worlds set forth using remnants of their own worlds to affect the current one. One freezes them while the other thaws. Hence the name Degrees Of Separation…
One of the basic gameplay elements in Degrees Of Separation has you solving puzzles and platforms to collect magical scarfs in the different worlds. Pretty straightforward and a nice little core gameplay element here. The reason this is all in the "hated" section is that there is never a good and easy way to keep track of the ones you have already collected along the way. Not the biggest of issues, but when progression through Degrees Of Separation is based on how many you have found, it makes it a bit too much of a crunch to remember where to go back to. That is unless you aim to collect them all along the way. Something that can be difficult as sometimes you need to complete puzzles, further along, to understand how to complete some of the earlier ones.
The next big thing that ground my gears in Degrees Of Separation here is also something that could be a boon to the game in the longer run. That would be that this game was fully designed to be played as a couch co-op title and not a single player game. Moondrop does give you the option to play the game single-player, but that is much more difficult than you may think. At least if you want to be able to collect everything and do everything. Most puzzles were manageable fairly easy in both lights, but it was almost a nightmare in some instances. One, in particular, would require you to jump back and forth between characters insanely quickly to try to complete whereas playing with a partner made it too easy. It felt like Degrees Of Separation never found that perfect balance between the two along the way.
To start off, the art style and audio for Degrees Of Separation is absolutely amazing given what the game is. At times I would want to take in the scene or just swap between characters to see how the world changed for each. Each world and level was crafted to keep the different abilities of Ember and Rime in mind. Something that could have been easily done by just placing an overlay atop the screen, but the artists and team took care to make sure everything had an effect based on where the characters were on the screen. This added even more to the experience of Degrees Of Separation as I would look for all of these when coming across major and minor landmarks in the world. Just as a great game should be.
While Degrees Of Separation would have been easier to play co-op, I played only single-player, I will have to throw some love to the puzzle and challenge designs that were in the game. Some of them were huge head-scratchers, but always had that feeling of accomplishment once you figure it out. Even the trickier ones that pretty much require two players. Most of them took a lot of skill and timing to pull off and never felt like they were made hard just to slow the player down. If you could not figure things out in Degrees Of Separation it was most likely because you are not looking at all of the different angles and possibilities. This is something many games do not get right but it was done insanely well here that I was sad to see the game come to a close.
Degrees Of Separation is a solid platforming title that will make couch co-op a great experience again. I would have liked to see a few UI or option tweaks to happen in the game to make being a completionist a bit easier, but that never truly detracted from the core of the game. If you are looking for a great new puzzle/platforming title then you cannot go wrong with Degrees Of Separation. Just be ready to be perplexed a bit more when going at things solo. You will see how it all would be easier with a friend most certainly.
I give Degrees Of Separation a 36 Magic Scarfs on the Magic Scarf scale.
Degrees Of Separation — Launch Trailer
Degrees Of Separation was developed by Moondrop and published by Modus Games for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on February 14th, 2019. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.