Humanity managed to illicit many different emotions and feelings from me in my time with it, ranging from joy and calm to all-out frustration and fatigue. Certain stages left me content, pleased in the knowledge I’d solved a conundrum that at first look, seemed almost impossible. Other stages left my head hurting and my soul deflated as I just couldn’t find a way to 100% it, no matter how hard I tried. However, despite every part of your brain feeling like it’s gone through one of the most rigorous mental workouts known to man, there’s no denying it is a masterful puzzler.
Each stage sees you leading crowds of humans to a goal located somewhere else on the dioramic and minimalist level. As a Shiba Inu, it’s your job to bark commands at them, helping them to follow the path you’ve set out while managing various blockades or structural inconveniences along the way. The more you play, the more complex things become, learning new commands to deal with new problems with the goal to get the hundreds of people to the target. The various groups of stages have a theme, and the creativity is off the chain, especially when you factor in saving what are known as Goldys.
These Goldys are fundamentally golden versions of the humans, if a little taller, and each chapter needs you to save a certain amount to be able to progress. If they fall off the level or get captured, you’ll have to restart the level in order to have another go. On later levels, you’re laying out so many commands it can become frustrating when a Goldy perishes, but the option to either restart the level with your commands still there or from the beginning is available is you want it. These commands are what make up the bread and butter of success, and you’ll end up using a lot of different ones.
The most common command is turn, and by pressing Square along with a direction, your humans will head the way you’ve told them to. Other commands will include jumping short and long distances, floating, splitting up in two directions, and more. Combat is even factored in later on, meaning you’ll give your humans a hammer or a gun, helping to attack another group of humans known as the Others. When it gets to these bunch of levels, you realise just how advanced Humanity has become, and trying to work out the best approach becomes the biggest thrill of all.
You only need to get the humans to the goal in order to complete the level, but there’re times when stages are so complex you’ll struggle to know how to complete them. Solution videos exist in the pause menu, but they don’t show you how to rescue the Goldy, meaning you’ll have to adapt the explanation to save them. If you can finish Humanity without any help, then you must be some kind of God. Despite this difficulty, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had in experimenting and finding the correct way to complete a stage and save the Goldys.
The designs of the stages are superbly crafted, throwing plenty of different problems at you. You’ll be thinking far outside the box in order to get the humans across huge extract fans, dodging boulders, pushing blocks, and sneaking up on the Others with your weapons that it becomes so chaotic and stunning at the same time. You’ll unlock the ability to pause your humans and re-evaluate, as well as fast-forwarding them, and these small additions to the mechanics help you think clearer and speed up the process.
When Humanity is at its strongest is when all of your carefully planned work comes to fruition. Watching large crowds of people march across the map, fly across large gaps and swim through water, dodge large crowds of the Others, climb up blocks, and hit switches in all the correct ways due to your planning makes every hair-pulling moment worthwhile. It’s such a well-constructed puzzle game filled with smart ideas, and is the perfect game to be played in small doses. Some players might not struggle as much as others, but there is a tough challenge that’ll push you to the limits of what you think is possible, yet that is where most of the appeal is.
Humanity never punishes you for your failings, and there is help if you need it. Each chapter gives you enough stages with varying amounts of Goldys to save, so if you do struggle, there’s the option to move on from the stages that leave you stumped and come back later. The level design is excellent, as are the puzzles at the heart of each one, and when the game releases it’ll be cool to see what creations players will come up with in the level editor mode. As tough as it can be, I thoroughly enjoyed how layered the puzzles are, and the range of commands that never make the challenge feel stagnant.
Inventive ways to reach the goal
Smart ideas throughout
Always adding new stuff
Very difficult at times