To be frank, when Humanity was announced back in 2019, we weren't really sure what we were looking at. A series of delays made it all the more mysterious. It was only with the recent reintroduction during February's State of Play that things began to click into place. The game comes from Tetris Effect studio Enhance Games and experimental Japanese team tha ltd., and having now played the limited time demo, we can at last tell you what it's all about.
Essentially, this strange game shares its core concept with Lemmings. In each abstract level, it's your job to guide a stream of people, walking in unison, to the goal. You control a dog (a shiba inu, to be precise) that can literally bark commands at the mindless humans, ordering them to change direction, perform jumps, and more to make it to the exit. That's kind of it.
It's a simple idea, but the hundreds of people onscreen and three-dimensional levels make it appear more complex. Fortunately, the demo introduces things nicely, giving you access to different commands as you progress through the 10 stages. We will say, however, that the difficulty is somewhat inconsistent; the fourth level, Loop the Loop, is a jump above the previous three, and isn't the only spike among the selection. Of course, this is just a demo, so we'd expect the challenge curve will be gentler in the full game.
The 10 levels do at least give you a good idea of how Humanity will use its simple mechanics to construct some very interesting and surprisingly tough puzzles. Optional collectible figures named Goldy, fans that can blow the humans away, blocks they can push along, and more all add small but effective layers to the design. Some levels make getting from A to B a real head-scratcher, but obviously, it feels great when you find the solution.
Once you're done with the main stages, you can hop into a level creator and a browser for user-made levels, both of which are in beta. The editor is simple and intuitive to use, and comes with a decent suite of tutorials if you need some guidance. As with games like Super Mario Maker, you need to complete your own stage before it can be uploaded. Meanwhile, anything created and shared by other players can be found in the browser. Naturally, there aren't too many of them at the time of writing, but they're organised neatly into various lists, like 'Easier Going' or 'Up For a Challenge'. The quality will vary here, but it's a neat feature that'll potentially extend the longevity of the game — provided it can find a community to keep it going.
We played the demo on PS5 and mostly on the TV, but Humanity also supports PSVR2. It plays identically, with the controls remaining the same whether you use the DualSense or the VR Sense controllers. While the virtual reality version provides a decent sense of depth to the game, turning each level into a diorama you can inspect from all angles, the perspective ultimately doesn't seem to add much to the gameplay itself.
We've come away from the Humanity demo intrigued to play more. It's unusual, with a unique atmosphere, some semblance of a story beneath the surface, and neat, tidily designed puzzles. If it can get the difficulty balance right, we could be looking at a game walking blindly out of the left field and into cult hit status.
The Humanity demo is available now on PS5 and PS4, with support for both PSVR2 and PSVR, but it'll only remain playable until 6th March 2023. The full game is scheduled to launch in May. Have you played the demo? What do you think of Humanity (the game, not the world populace)? Walk straight into the comments section below.
If it's anything like Tetris Effect, Rez and Lumines I'll be playing this game for years and years to come!
Day 1 purchase
Really enjoyed the demo in PSVR2
Great demo. The loop level had me stumped for a while.
The true difficulty for this game will be getting the gold dudes. Not beating it
Good demo, very weird and vibrant. I wouldn’t pay a lot for this game though, as it’s just lemmings
I gave this a go and really liked it. Definitely buying in May.
Same with the Loop level, had me for a few mins. But great demo, it’s done what a demo should do for me. I’ll look to pick this one up now!
Loved the game. Reminded me of what drew me to PlayStation in the PSOne or PS3 era. It’s just weird and feels high tech/high art regardless if it is or not. Wonderful demo. Glad to see Sony bringing these types of games back into the fold. The demo alone is in my top 10 games of the year already (how crazy is it that 2023 can have a viable top 10 games list already?)
More of this Sony please, its concepts like this that stand you apart.
I felt like it would be a better fit for VR.
@Smiffy01 it's actually Enhance Games, not Sony. But the point about fantastic and more original games stands 🙂
@pip_muzz Aye i just noticed that after posting, game reminded me of Kurushi for some reason 😀
@Smiffy01 It definitely looks like the kind of game Japan Studio would have made for PS Store in the PS3 era, so I totally understand where you're coming from.
It's got that kind of vibe to it.
@get2sammyb Yeah definitely, looking forward to this now.
Lemmings When's The Last Time Sony Made a Game In That Franchise?
The trailer for this game really interested me. I will definitely be playing this.
I've been meaning to get around to trying it. I'll make sure to get to it before it's unavailable.
I love this as a concept but that fourth level difficulty spike had me just staring and working out bad solutions for way too long. It might be a frustrating game, bit it's definitely on my radar. Lemmings is the frequent comparison but imo only tbt endless running mob is similar, gameplay is really pretty different, yes about controlling the stream more than the various abilities lemmings have. It reminds me of an old game boy game called Pipe Dream in some ways more than lemmings, especially with the goldies
What an excellent concept! I'll definately be trying the demo today.
I'm a big fan of the lemmings concept and I'm delighted to see another title try something similar with it's own take on the 'guiding the streams' play.
It reminds me of the virtual game in Ratchet and Clank 'Rift Apart', which I also found highly enjoyable.
I played through the demo and and really enjoyed it, very well executed puzzler. However, once I dove into the User Stages and Stage Creator, I fell in love. There is so much potential there! (see the user stage “Enhancement 2” for example)
I want to try the demo, but I also think it's dumb to limit the availability of the demo. Unless it's going to be free on plus (basic tier) or something like that.
@Ashcrapper Definitely a must buy for PSVR2 owners. The trailer doesn't do it justice. The PSVR2 demo definitely sold me to it.
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