Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Watchlist: Lemma

Title: Lemma
Developer: Evan Todd
Platforms: PC (potentially Mac, Linux)
Releasing 2014
Lemma is an immersive first-person parkour game. Every parkour move has the potential to modify the environment. Surfaces pop in and out of existence at will.
At a glance, the game Lemma probably brings to mind is Mirror's Edge. However while both feature first person parkour, one let the player loose among stark dystopian streets and rooftops while Lemma drops the you in an abstract landscape where the environment itself can help or hurt you. In Lemma, you play Joan Emerson, a physics student who enters this mysterious world and soon finds herself unraveling its secrets. It's a semi-open world, spreading out from a hub that lets you choose which areas to explore in what order you want.
Besides the parkour and abstract levels, what makes Lemma fun and interesting is how the environment reacts to your presence and how you can affect the environment. Your influence is probably most apparent; by wall-running or sliding off edges, you create a surface to continue moving, and later you gain the ability to select structures as you move as shown in the GIF above. But the environment is always your friend. From dangerous turrets and virus-like red material that spreads across the level to explosive cubes that hone in on your or throw parts of the level at you, there's a wealth of hazards to deftly evade with your superior movement.
Lemma is still in alpha, but is quite playable; you can download the alpha here to get a feeling of the gameplay and world. The developer is working on new content and additions, such as blocks that expand at your touch, switches that allow for machinery like elevators, and improved animations. You can learn more about Lemma here and on TIGForums, support the game on Kickstarter, and vote for it on Steam Greenlight.

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