Humanity Is a Surrealist Spin on Lemmings in fascinating PS5 and PS4 demo

To be honest, when Humanity 2019 was announced we weren’t really sure what we were looking at. A series of delays made it even more mysterious. It wasn’t until the recent reintroduction during February’s State of Play that things started to work. The game comes from Tetris Effects studio Enhance Games and experimental Japanese team tha ltd., and now that we’ve played the limited-time demo we can finally tell you what it’s all about.

Essentially, this strange game shares its core concept with Lemmings. In each abstract level, your job is to lead a stream of people walking in lockstep to the goal. You control a dog (a Shiba Inu, to be precise) that can literally bark commands at mindless humans, telling them to change direction, perform jumps and more to get to the exit. That’s such a thing.

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It’s a simple idea, but the hundreds of people on the screen and the three-dimensional layers make it seem more complex. Luckily, the demo introduces things well, giving you access to various commands as you progress through the 10 stages. However, we will say that the difficulty is somewhat contradictory; The fourth level, Loop the Loop, is a leap above the previous three and isn’t the only spike in the selection. Of course, this is just a demo, so we expect the challenge curve to be smoother in the full game.

The 10 levels at least give you a good idea of ​​how Humanity will use its simple mechanics to construct some very interesting and surprisingly difficult puzzles. Optional collectible figures named Goldy, fans that can knock people out, blocks that they can push along, and more add small but effective layers to the design. Some levels make getting from A to B a real headache, but of course it feels great when you find the solution.

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Once you get through the main stages, you can jump into a level builder and custom level browser, both of which are in beta. The editor is easy and intuitive to use and comes with a decent suite of tutorials if you need guidance. As with games like Super Mario Maker, you must complete your own stage before it can be uploaded. Meanwhile, everything created and shared by other players can be found in the browser. Of course, there aren’t too many of these at the time of writing, but they’re neatly categorized into different lists, like ‘Easier’ or ‘Ready for a Challenge’. Quality will vary here, but it’s a nice feature that might extend the longevity of the game – provided it finds a community to keep it going.

We played the demo on PS5 and mostly on TV, but Humanity also supports PSVR2. It plays identically, with the controls remaining the same whether you’re using the DualSense or VR Sense controllers. Ultimately, while the virtual reality version gives the game a decent sense of depth and turns each level into a diorama that you can view from all angles, perspective doesn’t seem to add much to the gameplay itself.

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After the Humanity demo, we got curious to play more. It’s unusual, with a unique atmosphere, a semblance of a story beneath the surface, and clean, neatly designed puzzles. If it gets the difficulty balance right, we could be looking at a game that blindfolded itself from left field to cult hit status.

The Humanity demo is available now on PS5 and PS4, with support for PSVR2 and PSVR, but will only remain playable until March 6th, 2023. The full game is slated for release in May. Did you play the demo? What do you think of humanity (the game, not the world population)? Go straight to the comments section below.

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