Analysis of Degrees of Separation, a very peculiar cooperative metroidvania

Degrees of Separation
Written by Kamran Haider

One of the most curious proposals of indie nature so far this year has just landed in the main formats. In his analysis, we delve into what this new adventure called Degrees of Separation offers us.

Players who are always looking to enjoy different experiences will surely give Degrees of Separation an opportunity. I am convinced. And the reason is that, without being the most interesting adventure that I have ever had the opportunity to try, without a doubt one of its main elements that I will tell you right away is quite novel … at least up to a point.

What happens is that the work of the Moondrop study weakens in certain aspects, especially in one: its little polished technical section. Yes, it is a game that as you can see enjoys a very careful aesthetic line and looks pretty good in pictures, but unfortunately also hides several technical defects that even affect the gameplay. And because of that, the adventure as a whole loses quite a few points as I will explain later.

The argument is one of those in a minimalist plan and, in fact, the two main protagonists ( Ember and Rime ) do not emit a single word during their trip. Instead, the warm voice of a narrator tells us in English (with subtitles in Spanish) the details of the story that basically has to do with two opposing worlds that are in trouble. On one side is the frozen world of Rime and, on the other, Ember’s, much warmer. And as surely as you are already imagining, Rime has the ability to master the power of ice and Ember that of heat.

Metropolitan bipolar and cooperative

Precisely in this bipolarity of the protagonists the grace of this degree of Separation is centered since both affect in a decisive way in certain elements that are in the funds and enjoy certain unique aptitudes. Rime, for example, is able to freeze water and walk above the said surface; while Ember can breathe underwater. Cold and heat are the keys that allow us to elucidate the multiple puzzles that the adventure is giving us.

A few puzzles are as numerous as, for the most part, not too challenging. In fact, it is fair to say that the level of difficulty that the game has is quite low. Moreover, now that I think about it, the characters do not die at any time, so the only obstacles they have to face during their journey are precisely those puzzles. And how have these puzzles been conceived, enjoy a good design? Well, there is everything, although the truth is that while some of them do show a very interesting design, many of them can be solved in quite similar ways (something usual in these games, on the other hand).Beyond the puzzles the title presents a quite outstanding aspect that has to do with exploration

The greatest virtue presented by Degrees of Separation has to do with the local cooperative mode

Beyond the puzzles, the title presents a quite outstanding aspect that has to do with exploration. In order to try to breathe more complexity into development, Moondrop has given his work a certain Metroidvania character. That is, it is possible to freely explore the different areas of the scenarios and go back to access new areas. The problem with this is that precisely the design of this feature is not exactly the best quality that holds the title and, in my opinion, such implementation seems somewhat forced. But hey, in any case, something more than the grace that adds to the development of the adventure, so one thing for another.

However, the greatest virtue presented by Degrees of Separation has to do with the local cooperative mode (not online) that includes this production and that undoubtedly becomes the best way to enjoy the journey of Rime and Ember. In this sense and beyond having to collaborate to solve the puzzles, both players enjoy full freedom of action to travel from one point to another of the scenarios, given that when the two protagonists are far enough away from each other, the title ” strip of vertical split screen to follow the evolutions of the two.

If we play alone, we can alternate the control of both characters with a button and, in the same way, ask the other to follow us or stay in a certain place. Unfortunately, in certain occasions, this system fails and there are moments when you would like to kill the character that supposedly should follow your instructions. But hey, it is also true that these problems are minor and, in addition, the low difficulty of the title softens this defect a lot … something that does not happen with everything related to its technical section.Problems with the AI ​​and other errors end up negatively affecting the experience

Problems with the AI ​​and other errors end up negatively affecting the experience

We are facing a video game that has successes and errors, although the latter weighs more in my opinion because they end up affecting the gameplay. In its favor, the most outstanding of all is the suggestive artistic line presented by the sets and, on more than one occasion, we rejoice the view with landscapes of a truly overflowing beauty. On the contrary, the appearance of the characters is not so achieved and is limited to be functional, accentuating in relation to their animations, which have seemed quite mundane in general.

Despite this last, the worst of all is that it is a title that has numerous bugs, at least in the version I’ve tried. Points of control poorly located and that sometimes do not seem to work well, crashes, problems with the detection of objects, problems with the AI ​​when we play alone and other errors end up negatively affecting the gaming experience. I hope the developers can fix as many of these problems with a patch because, in this way, the adventure would win the whole.

The sound is more sober, with melodies that are limited to accompany the action without too much pretension (except for some other topic more inspired punctual) and successful but quite scarce effects. A facet that is complemented by a narration in English with texts in Spanish quite successful.

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This new Metroidvania style proposal has its originality point and offers us a game mechanic in which the collaboration between two characters that possess unique abilities is the key. It also has a very attractive aesthetic line and some of the puzzles that we have to overcome have a good design, although its development also sins to be too inconsistent at times and has major bugs and failures. Even so, Degrees of Separation is a meritorious title within its genre, shining in a special way in its local cooperative aspect

  • The local cooperative side is quite striking
  • The design of some puzzles is remarkable
  • Artistically he gives us very colorful prints
  • The Metroidvania game mechanics entertains
  • Solo loses grace and is somewhat “uncomfortable” to handle
  • The rhythm of the game is somewhat irregular and sometimes lax
  • The animations of the protagonists are improbable and have several notable bugs


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Kamran Haider

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