A puzzle/platformer, Henosis is an indie title out now on Steam with some vicious learning curves, but if you manage to master it, a rewarding experience.
I thought that the Nintendo Switch was getting all of the best indie titles, but now that I’m back into PC gaming, I can see that the real gems are mostly on Steam and GOG.
This review is for the puzzle game Henosis. It’s not a game I was familiar with, but looking at the initial artwork, it reminded me of the works of Salvador Dali. I’d like to be pompous and say some of my favourite artists are these unknowns to make me look ‘in the know’, but Dali is one of my favourites, and the setup in Henosis reminded of his paintings. Simples.
The premise of Henosis is straightforward. You have to collect water tokens that will open a portal that teleports you to a new level. You play a blob, a handsome one at that, and you will stick to whatever surface you apply yourself to, but cannot jump like in Get-A-Grip Chip.
To reach other levels and platforms, you sort of teleport to the neighbouring surface. I used a controller, and this was done with the right stick, but only when in close proximity. Jetting off to a distant platform would be cheating.
From the outset, you know that this is going to be a challenging game, and it is. Lives and continues are infinite, but you can only sustain one hit. This makes planning for a level crucial as the slightest mistake, and you’re back to the start, and this works both for and against Henosis.
Unlike a platform game where you can easily manoeuver about, you’re restricted to the teleport option, but gravity is for losers as you can slime your way around full circle. It does take some getting use to as shifting left and right switches when upside down, and I’d continually kill myself in error.
It’s A Dangerous World Out There
Initially, it’s the environmental hazards that pose a problem from simple thorns that burst you to nasty sharp spinny things that are in abundance in something like Robbie Swifthand. You can’t steamroll through it, so have to patiently wait for an opening or slow down time.
Say what now? Yes, you can slow down time to shimmy past a sharp spinny thing, projectile or enemy. Usually, this would be an easy task but even when slowed down; it’s still pretty hard – the alternative is impossible though, so quit your complaining.
Additionally, there will be times when you will be stuck behind a wall. Some of these are destructible, but without any opposable thumbs, there’s not much you can do. Thankfully, Odd Critter Games allow you to use bombs to blow up walls. You absorb them into your gloopy body, then place them next to an inanimate object.
I had spent a great deal of time placing these bombs on moving objects to take out enemies or clear a path, but it never happened. Frustrating, but fun to experiment with different ways to beat each stage.
The movement in Henosis does take a bit of time to get used to as it’s a little clumsy in places and feels over-sensitive when moving near dangerous objects. Due to the nature of the game, being one-hit-killed when it was the silliest mistake, such as getting your directions mixed up or not realising that you’ve teleported into a dangerous object until the pop.
I particularly liked the ambience of the game, almost like a calming white noise sort of background. As mentioned, the visuals are really nice – even for a puzzle game that is often focused solely on the gameplay.
Henosis is a good puzzle game that will make you think and exercise your patience levels, but there were a handful of times where I would teleport and appear off-screen. This seemed like a rare glitch, but it happened several times and even induced a sensible rage quit. If they exist.
Again, because of the nature of having no health, but unlimited continues, you need to get everything perfect, so when something as simple as teleporting causes a death or you being unable to finish a stage, it’s a bit irritating, to say the least. Overall though, Henosis is worth looking into (or at!), but be prepared to die quite a bit.