- John Bush
Game Review #312: Selma and the Wisp (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven Green
Developer: Toucan Studio
Publisher: Ultimate Games S.A.
Release Date: 05.31.2019
Price (At Time of Review): $9.99
Buy Selma and the Wisp in the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Selma and the Wisp is a dark and eerie puzzle-platformer in which you play as a wisp who is leading a lost, scared girl through a horrifying maze of scares and terrors. You lead Selma to safety and are her beacon of hope in the darkness. Using the powers of the wisp you must navigate harrowing platforms and avoid horrible monsters or seal Selma’s fate for good. Selma follows her faithful wisp through every turn so take care to lead her on the right path.
Will o’ Wisp
This game offers a unique gameplay function in which you have to operate two characters at once through a follower-buddy system. You mainly use the wisp and you use it to carry items, open passages, and solve puzzles with your explosive ability. Selma follows you around, but you do have the ability to make her pause, so she doesn’t run face first into harm’s way while you find a safe path for her. Besides that, you just have to make sure Selma is timing her jumps properly and get her through the levels.
The platforming in the game is probably the only negative for this title, which is a bummer since this is a platforming title. The responsiveness to Selma’s movement can be finicky, and I found myself accidentally jumping off high places and causing Selma’s death. Having Selma jump onto certain platforms was also a pain at times as it wouldn’t always register what I wanted her to do with the placement of the wisp. This is partially user error, as the game offers the pause function I mentioned, but in this game, you will die multiple times trying to traverse areas as you don’t know what is coming around the next corner. If you get frustrated easily this is something to take note of because the game is meant to have multiple deaths as you progress. This adds to the difficulty of the platforming, which could be a positive, if the mechanics mentioned above are done on purpose.
The puzzles throughout the game are fairly easy, as nothing here is going to really stump you, however with the increased difficulty from trying to maneuver Selma you have a great mesh of puzzle to platforming in this title. You accomplish these puzzles through things like finding items in bubbles that you must bring along with you through the level and find the correct place that they go. You also must use your ability of exploding to let loose ladders or other ways to traverse the environment. I found the puzzles allowed me just enough extra objectives to try to deal with where I felt like I was involved in what was happening at all times. Easier platforming sections have tougher puzzles and areas that are hard to traverse go light on puzzle mechanics. A really good mesh here.
The biggest thing you must keep track of in this title is the amount of light power your wisp has left. There is a gauge at the top of the screen that you always have to manage and keep track of to make sure you don’t run out of light, leaving Selma in the darkness. The game places orbs for you to collect along the way, but with every passing second and use of your ability you lose more of your meter and get closer to the darkest of conclusions. Safe areas that max out your light are peppered throughout the game, but this mechanic allowed for just enough of dread to keep you on your toes through the whole game.
Inside the Darkness
The aesthetic they are going for with this title is a nightmare scape. You come across horrible monsters and scenes you wouldn’t want to see, and the gameplay mechanic of needing to lead Selma as her beacon of light really adds to the design here. They utilize a low-poly graphic style that leads itself well to the dark nature of the environments they want you to traverse. Realism isn’t what you fear in this game, it is how easily your character can be killed.
The game is quite short. I was able to complete the game in just a couple hours, and I really wish there was more as what is here is quite good. I found myself really disappointed that the game was over as the conclusion was something I didn’t think was coming up so quickly. The journey you take with Selma is a unique story of a little girl’s ultimate fears and how she must take on those fears with almost no help. It’s not a new story, but the ability for this title to tell this story without having dialogue or going into what is going on is awesome. You really feel for Selma, and want to help her succeed, and so the ending comes at a time when you aren’t ready to let go. Because of this, however, the game pretty much offers a single play-through with a quick ending, so keep that in mind while making your purchasing decisions.
Selma and the Wisp is a dark, fearful title that takes you on a journey that nobody wants to go on. But with the help of the wisp you feel hope for Selma and aid her in her fight through the darkness and to the conclusion of this title. A short game, Selma gets you hooked and then lets you go before it should, sadly. The puzzle mechanics and platforming mesh well together, but the platforming can be slightly unfair at times with its finicky mechanics. Overall, the game was a ton of fun, and is something I would recommend for anyone who is into dark story aesthetics and puzzle-platformers, but the easily frustrated or people looking for a long experience may want to weight your options before dropping into this nightmare.
Buy Selma and the Wisp in the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Ultimate Games