Developed by Beard Envy and published by Kalypso’s digital brand Kasedo, Filament is a very promising upcoming puzzler. We took a closer look.
What we know
Announced just before Gamescom with a tantalizing trailer, Filament immediately captured our attention. It looked like a visually rich and highly original take on the puzzle game genre, in which you weave an ever-extending hose around strategically placed pillars in a level in order to activate them and open up the exit.
That sounds simple enough, but there are of course caveats. You quickly learn that you can’t cross your previously placed sections hose, and the game gradually introduces new mechanics as well. One example is the darker pillars that kill the flow of energy through your hose, so you need to avoid touching those.
Doing so involves approaching them at the right angle (if at all), or looping your hose around them using a side of the pillar that is shielded by a wall and thus safe to touch. Other levels will include doors that won’t open until you activate a certain pillar first, so the gameplay never grows stale. It’s a deceptively simple concept that’s easy to learn yet hard to master, and Filament has 300 levels to tackle.
In addition, there is also a narrative to uncover that involves entering a nearly abandoned spacecraft, which isn’t just home to those 300 levels (most of which you unlock after the first handful of puzzles) but also lets you discover what happened to the crew in between.
What we saw
After the initial announcement and trailer, we got access to a development build of Filament at the end of last year. Despite a few bugs here and there (like not being able to ‘return to the ship’ from a puzzle through the menu), it already felt like a relatively complete experience – with tons of content to explore and a large amount of puzzles to tackle.
What we thought
A few technical issues aside, Filament is already a lovely puzzle game unlike anything we’ve played before. Its core concept is so simple that there isn’t even a proper tutorial, as the game teaches you how things work just by playing it. But what starts out as a walk in the park quickly becomes more complex, with some of the later puzzles in a series (they are grouped in packs of about five puzzles) being very challenging indeed.
Because the core concept is so simple and because you can access the vast majority of the levels right from the start, this is a game that’s hard to put down. I eventually did though, because I didn’t want to dive too much into the story before the final release some time this quarter. Part of that is that the story bits I saw and read didn’t immediately grab me either, but that’s going to be something that’d be incredibly easy to overlook because (aside from the ongoing conversations you have with a survival) most of the story content feels like it’s optional. Want to stick with the excellent puzzles? You can – and they’re something to look forward to because it’s every bit as fun as the trailer suggests.