The Multiverse Of Merriment
HIGH Things get crazy fast when switching universes.
LOW The levels can stagnate on easy difficulty.
WTF The old lady from Milleville village.
What Lies in the Multiverse? is a joyful and colorful adventure.
Explicit in the title, What Lies in the Multiverse is a 2D puzzle-platformer about exploring parallel realities where the player can switch worlds instantly.
Play revolves around this mechanic, and we immediately understand how useful this power can be. Have a huge rock blocking your way? Switch to a world where the rock doesn’t exist. Can’t reach somewhere? Switch worlds and look for a shortcut. These jumps between dimensions are done instantly with a press of a button, and each level has its own theme and universes that we can switch between.
For example, one is a frozen world where it’s easy to skate off the edge. One has poisonous air, which limits our time there. Another has reversed gravity. Naturally, switching is how we solve Multiverse’s puzzles.
For instance, we can push a box in one universe to reach a ladder in another, or slide on ice to gain momentum and jump before switching universes in mid-air to reach a ledge that wasn’t there in the first place. Truly, What Lies in the Multiverse has some of the most ingenious level designs that I’ve seen in a while, and each level has a different approach with different mechanics. The player is always trying new things and is compelled to think at every turn.
For a small game, the incremental novelty was well-made and prevents play from getting dull. That said, some puzzles can be very tricky, and I suspect that the time-based platforming ones might be punishing for people with motor difficulties.
In addition to this multidimensional gameplay, What Lies in the Multiverse offers bold decisions regarding its storyline.
At first glance, the game appears to be pure comedy. The actions of the characters are playful, and meant to provoke laughter in the player. The dialogue has jokes, and the colorful palette helps build the tone. However, as the game progresses, we realize that we are inside a tragic story with many dark moments. Along this journey we will find answers about vengeance, obstinacy, and friendship – it’s a tragic plot that explores the depths of human nature.
The protagonist is The Kid, a precocious genius who manages to build a simulator of parallel universes on his bedroom computer.
After his first test, Kid is sent to the prologue level, a world full of monks who clarify the concept of our adventure with their existentialist observations. Then, like any plot that involves travel across parallel universes, we find that he’s caused some instability in the multiverse. This is when we meet Everett, an eccentric physicist that looks more like a wizard. He helps us to fix the situation, but soon we feel that there is something odd about him … and I’m not talking about his hat.
Mesmerized, our Kid joins the charismatic scientist and we help Everett reach a place which (supposedly) unveils the secrets of the multiverse. However, things take a twist when we encounter a group of scientists that guard it. They’re chasing Everett, which adds to the mystery and puts us into a dubious ethical position. Are we following the wrong person? Or are his convictions justified?
What Lies in the Multiverse is character-driven. It’s through our interactions with the cast characters that we unravel the plot, and, in the end, discover what really lies at the heart of the multiverse. However, the contrast between the initially-comedic format and the later tragedies isn’t always well-done, and the excessively friendly moments are out of place and disconnected from the seriousness they’re trying to touch. However, things are still strong enough to carry our curiosity through the game.
What Lies in the Multiverse is a wonderful game that brought something new to the table. The instant multidimensional travel is a brilliant idea that breaks the monotony that 2D platformers can often have, and Vicente Aguiló and his team are to be congratulated –judging by their game design skills here, I can’t anticipate anything but a bright future for them.
Now, where’s the sequel?
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Disclosures: This game is developed by Studio Voyager & IguanaBee and published by Untold Tales.It is currently available on PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC.Approximately 9 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: This game is rated M by the ESRB and contains Blood, Violence, Strong Language, and Drug Reference. This is definitely a mature one as it contains themes such as violence, grief, and death.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.However, be aware that it contains sequences with intense effects, images and flashing lights that could cause discomfort and trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. The game can be played without audio. The only audio this game uses are the soundtrack, the ‘gibberish’ talking noises and some environmental sounds. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
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