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Humanity | Review 59

Humanity | Review

Humanity Comes to Quest

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It takes guts to call a game Humanity. It immediately comes off as ostentatious, if not downright pretentious. Furthermore, it basically positions a game as a philosophical endeavor, an intellectual exercise in exploring the profundity of human existence. It burdens the game with a need to demonstrate both substance and depth, a certain scale of meaningfulness. In a sense, it raises expectations rather than managing them. Is this a game you must play in a suit, in an all-white guru garb? Will I need a cigar and a pocket watch? Who knows? I’m just here to have some fun, and if a puzzler teases my brain with promises of rewarding challenges, then who am I to refuse a flattering tickle? Well, my dear dopamine, let’s see how you trickle.

Woof, Woof, Mankind

Humanity has you controlling a dog, a Shiba Inu to be precise, as you shepherd human beings across its levels and lead them to the..well, to the light. Take the vaguely religious and intellectual conceits away; what you seemingly have, at least initially, is a game with much in common with Lemmings or Kartoffl. As a result of this ‘guide the idiots’ to their destination gameplay, Humanity reduces the agency of its throngs of humans to that of potatoes that barely have control of their limbic system. But let’s not get insulted on behalf of the human race; any god that may exist knows we’re scarcely worth the carbon it takes to hold us together.

When I said throngs, by the way, I wasn’t exaggerating. If there’s one thing Humanity impresses you with right away, it’s the sheer number of humans it can casually fling on screen simultaneously. Masses of humans emerge, and they keep coming, hundreds of them, sometimes thousands. The game appears to be able to push them out in limitless quantities. I remember first playing this game on PSVR2 when it came out and thinking it took the power of a PS5 to throw around this many animated bodies. When I heard it was coming to Quest, I had my doubts about whether this turbas flagrantes could be accomplished on Quest. Well, guess what? The teams Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Yugo Nakamura led have somehow done the job. Humanity, meet Quest. Quest, meet masses of human sheep led by a Shiba Inu.

humanity meta quest review

Essentially, each level is a challenge to solve, and there are plenty of levels broken down into chapters. Some exposition between the chapters reveals the grand narrative that serves as a backdrop to all this puzzle-solving.

Your Shiba Inu has an evolving and sometimes diminishing set of powers; you can order them to turn, you can order them to jump or jump high, you can place markers that make them light as feathers, etc. Each level is a three-dimensional grid, and you can mark squares with those commands, making humans follow them whenever they reach those squares. It’s well-designed and quite elegant. Most levels also contain some larger-than-life golden humans called Goldys. These serve the function of stars, in the sense that if you can collect all the Goldys in a level, you can consider it well and truly finished, and in the sense that you need a certain amount of Goldys to unlock the final level of each chapter.

humanity meta quest review

As you progress past the midway point of the game, the stakes increase, but I won’t say much about that since it would constitute a spoiler within the game’s narrative. Let’s just say that Humanity does a fantastic job of constantly evolving the gameplay to the point of breaking genre and almost making its way halfway to another genre as the game progresses. But hey, spoilers…

Spatial Computing

The overall design of Humanity gives it a lot of its appeal. The menus are elegant, the art direction is uniformly excellent, and the controls are quite intuitive, with one button switching between commands and the other placing command markers. The right grip button allows you to fast-forward through time, and the game doesn’t try to needlessly punish you. If you mess up or want to try again, perhaps to catch more Goldys, the game lets you restart a level with all your command markers intact.

humanity meta quest review

Humanity also rewards you with frequent unlocks. Most of these come in the form of skins that you can unlock for the characters; one that’ll dress your humans in 70s-style clothing, one that’ll make them blocky, one that’ll make them spherical, another will make them shiny, etc. The other unlocks are more statistical, showing detailed stats on your performance history throughout the game. None of these impact the gameplay, but they add to the experience and give some sense of accomplishment.

humanity meta quest review

Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that Humanity has a good deal of longevity built into it; the game features a level creator, allowing players to design their own puzzles.

To Err is Human

Humanity has a distinctive style, which I enjoy, but some might consider it relatively bare and even drab. The people are colorful, but the levels are primarily grey, and some players might tire of that. If there’s anything about its overall presentation that I didn’t enjoy, it’s the soundtrack. There are a few different tracks, and once you get past a certain level, you can switch between them, but they’re all the same sort of minimalist electronica. I understand that the music in the game is supposed to be ambient and unobtrusive, but it didn’t really do it for me.

humanity meta quest review

The biggest issue with Humanity might be that it doesn’t justify its existence in VR at all. When it first came out on PS5, it was playable in pancake and VR modes. So, some people may prefer to play it flat. Having said that, if you don’t have a console or simply like the immersive nature of VR, then that’s not an issue.

To Forgive, Divine

Humanity is a cryptic puzzler with a lot of atmosphere, a great set of evolving mechanics, and a wealth of levels and challenges. It has a distinctive style that minimalists will like but might seem drab to others, and its execution on Quest is excellent so long as you’re okay with a graphical downgrade from the PS5 or PSVR2 version. It straddles a fine line between being challenging and rewarding, and if you’re a fan of puzzle games, it will keep you hooked until you get to the other side of the light. The game has been nominated and won more awards than you can shake a significantly large stick at, and I can’t say it’s undeserved.

Dive in and enjoy.

Concept 8
Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 7.5
Audio 6.5
Longevity 8

Overall 8


Humanity | Review 61
TLDR : Summary
Humanity is a cryptic puzzler with a lot of atmosphere, and a great set of evolving mechanics, and a wealth of levels and challenges.
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