In the battle between light and darkness, a man named Josh is stuck in the middle. On one side, he has Caleb, a side of his personality that lives in the light. On the other lies Ammiel, a dark being who lives in the darkness. Both sides exist simultaneously, but neither can tread the world while the other is active. It’s a great backstory which leads to a eerie and meaningful aesthetic in ATRAX Games’ upcoming puzzle platformer, Sym.
The concept behind Sym is pretty simple. There’s a black and white level with platforms, boxes and places to explore. You have two characters or “personalities” which can only move freely among one color of block. In order to go through levels and progress, you must switch back and forth between the two worlds and use this mechanic to solve problems. Different obstacles can only affect one or the other entity, with blades only hurting the dark side of Josh and plants only being able to eat the light side. Once you master these mechanics, you can pretty easily get to the elevator at the end of each level and continue to make progress. While the gameplay is pretty standard when it comes to puzzle platformers (with the one little twist mechanics to make it stand out), the whole aestheic of the sound and visual style is what really drew me to Sym.
At its core, Sym bases itself around the fact that the main character has social anxiety. The light side, Caleb, goes out in public while Ammiel plays it safe and likes to stay home. This concept can be seen throughout the demo levels that I tried my hand at. When you’re in the dark zone, you can see phrases plastered on the walls like “Safe” and other things that you would expect form a reclusive type. It also brings up why blades might be effective here. The light side is the opposite. It’s the outgoing personality that goes out in public. It’s a play on real issues that helps to distinguish it from the rest of the pack. On top of that it adds eerie music that adds to the atmosphere and really added to the experience.
Sym has recently went through some Steam Greenlight stuff and a demo was released today on Steam. It’s available for Mac and PC with the full version set to go live sometime in March. If you’re looking for a quick puzzle platforming fix that will have you wanting more, I suggest giving Sym a try. It’s a unique concept that really appeals to every fiber of me.
Here’s the link to their Steam page.