*Note: This article was originally published on LadiesGamers.com in March 2019. Click here to see the original article! 🙂
Game: Samsara: Deluxe Edition
System: Nintendo Switch
Price: $9.99 | £7.99
Age Rating: EU 3+ | USA E
Release Date: December 31th 2018 (UK/EU/AU), January 10th 2019 (US/CAN)
Review code kindly provided by Marker
When I was first asked to review Samsara: Deluxe Edition, I was pretty excited! I enjoy some puzzle games every now and then, and after watching a trailer for it, I thought it was something I might enjoy. If I’m brutally honest, however, I was excited at the beginning of the game; by the end of the game, I was more than ready for it to be over with. Read on for my short review!
Nintendo.com describes Samsara: Deluxe Edition like this:
While playing in the park, Zee follows a squirrel through a portal to a world of echoes, inhabited by a shadow child. Surrounded by the unknown and trapped in a series of realms both confusing and dangerous, the youngsters must avoid slipping into the pool between dimensions, embarking on a voyage of discovery and awakening they share with the player, up and down staircases, through light and dark, across the upside-down and the right side-up to their eventual freedom.
I’ll admit, if I hadn’t have read this, I wouldn’t know what the exact story was behind the game! When you start a new game, you are greeted with a little cutscene of a boy chasing a squirrel and getting sucked into a portal. You have to guide both Zee and his shadow into their respective portals to clear the levels. Easier said than done!
Graphics and Sound
To me, the graphics are nothing spectacular. They aren’t bad by any means… they are just kind of “there” and don’t stand out to me in any way. Also, let me just say that for about half the game I thought Zee was supposed to be a little girl… only when I was reading more about the game did I realize that Zee is a boy. Oops!
Some of the later background level designs are kind of cool though. I like the spooky looking neighborhood and the creepy carnival themes the best.
There isn’t really much in the way of music in this game. In fact, the only time music plays is when you set Zee in motion- it’s kind of weird and I didn’t care for it. Most of the ambient sound effects were a little on the annoying side. As a matter of fact, most of the time I just played this game with the sound turned down!
Gameplay in Samsara: Deluxe Edition is quite straightforward. Your goal is to get Zee (and a little later on, his shadow as well) into the portal! When you begin a level, you are presented with a number of blocks on the right side of the screen. You can place these blocks almost anywhere you like, rotating them as you see fit.
You will notice there is a line dividing the light and dark parts of the world. I guess this is what the description is referring to as “the pool between dimensions!” If you place a block on the dark side, it will be reflected on the light side. Once you place a block, gravity will take hold and pull the blocks towards the dimensional pool.
Once you have the blocks placed to your liking, you can set Zee and his shadow into motion by pressing Y. If either of them fail to get into their respective portal, you can restart the level and move the blocks around as much as you need to until you get it just right!
Fun Factor and Replay Value
At first, I really enjoyed Samsara. The levels were fun and challenging. However, when I was about halfway through the game, I found myself getting kind of tired of it. The levels were becoming more and more difficult, and the blocks just didn’t seem to behave the way I would imagine they were supposed to. I encountered a glitch or two in which blocks would randomly face different directions and I had to reset the entire level to get it to work properly.
I don’t mind when games are difficult. However, because this game is nothing but puzzle after puzzle, I found it quite repetitive. When I knew I was near the end of the game, I couldn’t wait for it to be over with!
Samsara: Deluxe Edition for the Switch comes with an additional 24 levels. I choose to end my playthough at the last level of the original game; I wasn’t in the mood to dabble with any of the extra levels.
As far as replay value is concerned, I don’t really feel like there is much. Once you know how to complete a level, there isn’t much reason for you to go back and play it again.
My total playtime for this game was around 4 hours. When I first started playing this game, I really enjoyed it. However, gameplay became repetitive and later levels can be pretty frustrating. The graphics are just okay, and there isn’t much in the way of music. This game may be better suited for people who just want to challenge themselves every now and then, but I don’t think it’s the type of puzzle game that has everlasting appeal and charm. I also don’t think it should be played for long periods of time- playing a level or two here and there is probably best. There isn’t much reason to come back and play levels after you clear them. With all of this being said, my final rating for the game is I’m Not Sure.
Just because I wasn’t a huge fan of the game doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot! Samsara does have many positive reviews around the internet. If you’re into puzzle games, give it a try and see if you like it!