Membrane Review


Puzzle-platformers are a dime a dozen, so it’s easy to pass on them when they surface. I came across Membrane while browsing the eShop for deep discounts and it caught my attention. Not only was it just nine cents, but the concept also looked interesting to me. So, I coughed up a few pennies and downloaded the game. This happened nearly two months ago and it sat in my backlog ever since. After completing the game 100%, I regret not getting to it sooner. Let’s take a look at the joys of playing Membrane.

Puzzle Solutions Are Yours to Create

Your main objective in Membrane is to reach the exit of each level, but how you get there is up to you. You play as a small yellow character that can create platforms by shooting red blocks from its beak. These red blocks will connect to create wobbly bridges and ladders, which let you pass over dangerous obstacles. These red blocks are limited, so that restriction is what forces you to get creative. If you run out of blocks, you can shoot your beak at them to destroy your creation and recover some. You can get a better aim by holding down a button to see exactly where your blocks will fly. In fact, the only minor complaint I have about the game is how finicky the aiming is. It can be tricky to line up your shots because your aim will jump a little too much when flicking the stick. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but it would feel much smoother with more precision.


As the game continues, more uses for these red blocks will surface, such as using them to activate switches by connecting a line between positive and negative electrical terminals. These new mechanics are continuously introduced, which keeps the game from becoming stale. While each mechanic works in a certain way, you can come up with your own solutions to solving each level. You may see how the developer intended you to complete a level, but might find something that works better for your play style. I believe this proves how cleverly designed this game really is.

It’s Worth Getting a 100% Completion Rate

Membrane is a relatively short game, but you can extend your time with the game by seeking out its secrets. There are 9 amoebas hidden cleverly in secret areas throughout the game. Finding them are necessary for your completion rate, and they are satisfying to find even if they don’t unlock anything for finding them all. However, these amoebas will gather on the title screen, which actually holds another little secret. As you play through the game, you will see the game’s mechanics begin to show up as you encounter them, which I think is a nice touch.


Also, you’ll notice that you can collect two yellow orbs in each stage. Collecting these will unlock some bonus mini-games, one of which in particular could be its own standalone game. I believe it’s worth the trouble to collect the orbs because the bonus mini-games are a ton of fun. They utilize the game’s base mechanics to create new experiences for you to try. Trickshot being the standout bonus here. My only complaint is that I wish Trickshot was longer than 10 levels.

Beautiful Relaxing Ambience Awaits

Membrane is an incredibly relaxing game to play. This is thanks to an ambience created with its minimalist style and spacey synth music. I found myself often getting lost in the moment while solving puzzles and becoming steadily relaxed. Membrane is an overall mellow experience, even when you have to try puzzles multiple times. I felt immersed in this world and would like to point out that video games don’t always need to feature complex graphics, or epic orchestras to create a unique experience. Sometimes all you need is a creative eye and ambient music.

Conclusion

Membrane is a top tier indie game and comes with a recommendation from me. It creates a relaxing atmosphere while challenging the player to create solutions to its puzzles. The game is actually available now for just $0.09 on the Nintendo eShop. It’s worth its asking price, but it’s a must buy at that price, and you could probably get it free if you have enough gold points.

Final Score: +3

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