Humanity Review

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There is something to be said for a nice relaxing game, one that you can sit down with at the end of a hectic day and just play to take your mind off things. 

Well, I’ve been scouring the wastes of Game Pass and have come up with an ideal candidate to fill this role – Humanity. Coming from tha Ltd and Enhance, this appears, on the surface, to be a great game to help you relax. Well, at least at first…

The question is, can we save Humanity via a blend of action platforming and puzzling? Well, we’ll give it a go, right?

Humanity review 1
Ready to help Humanity?

The story of Humanity is revealed slowly, bit by bit. It does start off in a quite interesting way – “I awoke one morning to find I was a dog”. And that is your entire back story. We find ourselves in a strange world, where masses of Humanity are moving endlessly, often falling to their deaths. Yet we have the power to save these people, and so with just a string of basic commands under our belt (collar?) we are tasked with herding people into the light. And from there, it just gets weirder…

Presentation of the game is done via a third person perspective, and our character is a small white glowing Shiba Inu dog. From there, each level comes across as a varied affair, with multiple paths, gaps, and so on to navigate. The humans that need shepherding to the light are a strikingly designed lot, with a unique look to them that is almost stark – it really does look superb. And the levels go from simple to fiendishly complicated very quickly, as you might expect!

The sound is more minimal, with the dog barking to tell people to change directions and to jump, etc, but overall this is a game that focuses on the visual impact of what we are doing, and sound takes a back seat. All things considered, the game design works very well indeed. 

But what do we actually have to do? Well, at its most basic, the gameplay is a bit like the old skool Lemmings – humans appear out of a glowing doorway and have to be guided safely through a level full of dangers to an exit square, and when enough have made it, the level is complete. In direct opposition to Lemmings, however, if the people happen to walk off a cliff, say, they aren’t lost forever, they just get added to the back of the queue to come through the doorway again. This salved my conscience no end of times as Humanity occasionally looks like the killing fields.

Humanity review 2
Powered by dog

Now, as a dog, even a glowing one, there’s only so much we can do – we obviously can’t force the humans to do what we say. Instead it is all about leaving commands for them to follow. And as you work your way through the game, you’ll discover a lot of commands that can be unlocked, but the basic one is a Turn command – pressing X and a direction on the controller will leave an arrow on the screen to tell the people where to walk. Later we can get Jump, High Jump, Long Jump and more commands, and these have to be strung together in such a way as to get the people to the exit. Planning is everything – managing to get a perfect run is a great feeling, and in a sign of how engrossing this is, I even had my wife telling me where to go – and she doesn’t usually care about games like this. 

There’s more to get involved in too and scattered around are large golden figures called Goldys. If you can get the Goldys to the exit of the level with your flow of humans (they will follow the same instructions as the regular people) then they will unlock new modifiers for you. Whether this be the fact that your humans can wear hats or 70’s outfits or the much more useful time pausing mechanic (you can hold LT to stop time, allowing you to look around the level in relative peace) collecting Goldys will help. Also, they are used to unlock the last test in each area – you have to collect a certain number of Goldys to advance. 

As you’d expect in a puzzle game, as the levels go up, so do the challenges, and there are various new mechanics introduced as well. Your people can learn to fire weapons, to shove blocks, and even to use fans to move themselves around. Humanity, as a game, is constantly evolving. Add in to the ordinary levels some that are almost boss fights in structure, and this is a game that will keep you coming back for more. The hook is simple, trying to save people, looking for the most efficient route through the levels – it becomes almost a compulsion, and so the longevity of the game is assured. 

Humanity review 3
What’s that Goldy doing?

To assist in this, it is also possible to create your own levels, and even to play the creations of others through an easy to use level editor. This basically means the game is never ending, as there is a lot of user generated content to get involved in.

Humanity is a great game. Pretty relaxing initially, things build as progress is made, until the latter levels come across as proper tests; thank god for the provided solution videos, then. Mostly though, the challenge of Humanity is real, as is the draw to see the next section and the next. 

If you want something a little bit different from the norm, give this a go.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Lots of levels
  • Lots of challenge - getting all the Goldys needs proper planning
  • Level creator adds infinite content
Cons:
  • It’s not going to appeal to the adrenaline junkie
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PC, PS5
  • Release date and price - 30 May 2024 | £24.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Lots of levels</li> <li>Lots of challenge - getting all the Goldys needs proper planning</li> <li>Level creator adds infinite content</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>It’s not going to appeal to the adrenaline junkie</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PC, PS5 <li>Release date and price - 30 May 2024 | £24.99</li> </ul>Humanity Review
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