Sephonie from Analgesic Productions and Ratalaika Games is a narrative-driven 3D retro-style puzzle platformer on PlayStation. Learn more about it in our Sephonie review!
Sephonie from Analgesic Productions and Ratalaika Games is a narrative-driven 3D retro-style puzzle platformer on PlayStation. It tells the story of three scientists from three different nations who came together to try and use the experimental technology known as ONYX at the titular Sephonie Island. The three scientists are Amy Lim, Team Lead from the United States, who has a background in Biology, Riyou Hayashi, from Japan, who has a background in Research and Development, and Ing-wen Lin, from Atlantis, who has a background in Manufacturing.
Right as they had started to record during the final approach toward Sephonie Island, a bizarre electromagnetic field popped out of nowhere, engulfing their vessel. Their ship ends up crashing on the shore of Sephonie Island, and it’s then that your journey will begin. You’ll gain control of Amy Lim as you run through the minimalist retro-styled environment that features lots of sharp edges and some old-school textures here and there, all running at a smooth framerate.
You’ll control your character with the left analog stick as you rotate the camera with the right one as needed. The L1 and R1 buttons can be used to zoom in and out. You can also recenter the camera by pressing in on the right analog stick. If you press and hold down the R2 button, your character will be able to sprint. Sprinting will make a character start running in the direction it’s facing, and you’ll be able to steer them left and right. Sprinting will make it easier to perform longer jumps to clear some gaps.
You can jump by pressing the X button. If you tap the button, you’ll perform a short jump. If you press and hold down the button, you’ll perform a full jump. Your character can also wallrun, which will be needed for some of the trickier platforming segments. You can perform a wallrun by jumping into a wall while sprinting. You can also dash by pressing the R2 button after jumping. Pressing the Triangle button will allow you to interact. Since there are three scientists on this journey, that means you’ll be able to switch between them by pressing the L2 button. The trio doesn’t have any different skills, so you can play as your favorite.
The ONYX link is an interesting gameplay mechanic that will have you completing puzzles with pieces that resemble those you find in the beloved and long-running Tetris franchise. What you need to do is used the puzzle pieces to form large, continuous islands of each color. The more squares of each color that you match and link, the faster the bar at the upper part of the screen will fill up. Once your turn is over, all islands of 3 or more squares will be removed from the board. The bigger the color islands, the more points you’ll score!
You can rotate pieces by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons and can press the L2 button to undo a move if you make a mistake. To end your turn, just press the R2 button. You will have a limited number of pieces per turn, which is indicated by the row of squares on the right side of the screen displayed above your character. You’ll have two health points for each connection. If you run out of hit points, then you’ll need to restart the link. This is why for each of your turns, you must reach the minimum point threshold so that you don’t lose any health.
Once you successfully complete a link, that species will be added to the Linklist. With each successful link, the Linklist will be updated with more information for that particular creature. You’ll learn all of the basics during a short tutorial that will show you how to successfully complete a link. The first entity you’ll have to link with will be a coral since you’ll have to obtain as much information as possible to be able to treat Ing-wen Lin, who is suffering from some type of infection after a piece of coral cut her skin after crashing.
You’ll also learn about the special gems that will sometimes appear on the playing field. These will act as obstacles you’ll need to navigate to be able to complete larger combos with the pieces you can place. The first of these gems that you’ll run into is the Slime gem, which can be cleared from the playing area by placing a puzzle piece on it. You’ll also run into special spots that can grant bonus points to fill up the bar at the top of the screen, so be sure to make the most of them!
To make it easier for gamers of all skill levels to have a good time while playing Sephonie, there’s a variety of gameplay options to choose from that will make it possible for everyone to eventually make it to the end of this journey. There’s the option of activating infinite dashes, as well as activating infinite jumps, which will make it a lot easier to explore Sephonie Island. You can also activate ONYX Link Easy Mode, which will make linking a lot easier by reducing the threshold for taking damage while also increasing the points value for each island of colors.
Sephonie has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy for you to work on. The list is a short one, and it includes 5 Silver trophies and 10 Gold trophies to work on. Most of them are story-related and will pop as you progress through the game, but there are some that you’ll need to work on. There are many items for you to collect, and they usually require you to complete some tricky platforming segments. Items are optional and are not needed for completing the game, but they are needed for obtaining one of the trophies that asks that you obtain at least 20 items. Oh, and this one is a Cross-Buy release, so if you own a PlayStation 5 console, you can download both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game, and each one will have a separate trophy list.
Sephonie brings us a narrative-driven retro-styled 3D puzzle platformer on PlayStation in which you’ll use the experimental ONYX technology to link with and learn more about the different creatures you’ll find in the titular Sephonie Island. Take on some trickier platforming segments and link with as many creatures as possible to learn more about what makes the island tick. You’ll even run into boss battles of sorts since there will be larger entities for you to link with that will introduce new puzzle elements while having some more challenging layouts for their playing area. Sephonie is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $10.99 purchase will allow you to download both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game at no extra cost.
Disclaimer This Sephonie review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Ratalaika Games.