Selma and the Wisp presents for review as a puzzle platformer with simplistic, highly stylized visuals and arcade elements. There is a short narrative to get you started, which is helpful. Players figure out how to move forward through dying, but you are rewarded with cryptic quotes and tougher challenges.
The game is a single player, offline experience. Selma and the Wisp offers a unique co-dependent control system of two characters simultaneously.
Side scrollers have been around since the very beginning of console games. We’ve seen casual puzzle solving mechanics, unforgiving timing levels, or an exploration focus. However, some games stick out and create a genre all their own by combining ideas.
Selma and the Wisp accomplishes this by not letting you control Selma directly, but, rather, you control only the Wisp, which can fly and Selma will follow. Your only two “abilities” are to explode, allowing you to move or interact with small obstacles, or to instruct Selma to “stay put” while you explore a little further. But there is a catch: if you wander too far, Selma will become scared and her health will drain! You also have a limited meter of power to use your wisp abilities.
You are faced with platforming puzzles which entails going around obstacles, flipping levers in sequence, or timed puzzles as well, even though you do not have direct control over Selma. She will move when you “call her back.” This allows you to approach some parts of the game like a traditional platformer, but with a little twist. In some ways, this mechanic may remind some of you older gamers of “Abe’s Odyssey“- which requires you to direct minions as opposed to just the main character. Selma and the Wisp works in the same manner. You are the Wisp, but ultimately you must keep Selma alive to succeed.
The visuals are a simplistic style but really helps this game work in handheld mode. The “Switch Factor” is a big plus with this title. It looks great on both docked and handheld. Even “hidden” items are contained in a bubble graphic, which makes it much easier to spot on the smaller screen. You may need to adjust the sensitivity to help for more precision using the joy-cons, but this is a great title for the Switch over other platforms. The sound is very ambient but fits the visuals perfectly. It is recommended you use some headphones, or just turn it up nice and loud on your sound system.
The only downside which I did not truly realize until a few hours into the adventure is that you are really only motivated to proceed to the next level. Unlike your Yoshi and Mario games, you do not have additional collectibles to seek out in levels. It’s simple yet works for this game. It may decrease the replay value, but it takes nothing away from the game as a whole.
Selma and the Wisp
Overall, Selma and the Wisp is a unique platforming experience. If you are interested in a puzzle challenge yet not in a Tetris mood, Selma and the Wisp may scratch that itch perfectly.
- Visuals and sound create a great mood
- Very creative and unique control mechanics
- Good in both handheld and docked mode
- Lower replay value
Prognosis is Good