Happily Lost in Space.
What do you get when you mix puzzle solving with an outer-space atmosphere? You get Filament, a visually stunning game that on the surface seems simple and easy to pick up for anyone looking for their next casual indie fix. However, upon diving into the game further, I quickly realized Filament requires a far larger mental capacity, so to speak, than I initially thought I was capable of. It also presents one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever witnessed from an indie game.
Developed by Beard Envy and published by Kasedo Games, Filament is a puzzle-solving adventure that puts you in the boots of an unnamed astronaut aboard an abandoned space-ship. You eventually come across the ship’s navigator, “Juniper,” who is locked in the cockpit, and eventually requests your help in setting her free. The story isn’t elaborate or deep, but it succeeds in delivering a simple plot that works with the gameplay. In order to help free Juniper, you’ll venture around the ship across three different anchors, solving five different puzzles in each area, restoring power back to the ship. Once you complete an area, you’ll follow a line that leads towards the next. It may sound simplistic, but trust me when I say, the design of this game proves to be far more challenging than that. Be ready to utilize your brain to its near maximum potential.
The core of Filament is focused on a tiny robot that has a cord attached, carrying a line of electricity/power that you’ll use to supply sufficient energy towards various prism towers in each of the levels. Once you light all of the ones necessary, the exit will open and set you free. Where it gets complicated is making sure you have your bases covered. It’s not as simple as just wrapping your power line around the prism tower then moving forward. The line has to stay within a certain proximity and resistance between each prism; otherwise, you may find yourself in a scenario where you’re trapped or at a loss of power due to the various types of obstacles and other types of prisms, such as negative prisms, colored prisms, prisms with different heights, etc. It’s very much trial and error, as you will more than likely find yourself restarting a particular puzzle over more than once or twice. Fortunately, it’s as simple as either holding down B to restart the level from the beginning, or you can hold ZR if you need to go back only a few steps. In addition to these features, there’s also a Hint Mode that you can enable twice per puzzle. However, by doing this, you permanently exempt yourself from acquiring one of the final achievements in the game, so I wouldn’t advise any completionist to use this option if you’re looking to 100% the game.
One of the most interesting things I came across during my playthrough was the amount of possible alternative routes/solutions that can be found when someone else accompanies you. This is a game I found myself enjoying with a second set of eyes, as it can definitely prove to be helpful in specific areas you may be struggling with. Most puzzles will test both your patience and tolerance, and right when you think you’re finished, another one gets thrown right at you. It’s remarkable to see how many different types of mechanics and specific rules are put into place within this game, and my playthrough constantly had me wondering how much time and math was spent towards creating each of these individual trials. For example, there are select levels that will introduce you to a second robot that you’ll take control over after using the first one you’re already familiar with. The catch? The second robot is only capable of lighting specific prism towers that share the same color as them (red, blue, etc.). Having to figure out a way to escape the room after lighting up all prisms amongst two different lines of power proved itself to be quite a feat, much more than my initial impressions of the game led me to believe. It’s such a marvel to see how Filament’s intricate design can work as cohesively as it does, which only has me hungry for more.
Filament is a game I thoroughly enjoyed for expanding my puzzle-solving skills, as well as delivering a relaxing soundtrack, visuals, and wonderful story. This is one of those games that you can either spend a whole weekend playing through, or even just pick it up quickly during a lunch break for 15-20 minutes, then pick it right back up where you left off. High difficulty is very much present throughout the majority of the runtime; that said, I feel that this where it truly excels. The real highlight of the entire experience to be had within Filament is the massive number of puzzles, each being very unique and creatively designed in its own way. If you’re looking for your next puzzle-solving indie fix, look no further than Filament, available now on the Nintendo eShop.