A parent reviews the SA developed video game Semblance


South African game developer Nyamakop has delivered a game that can compete on an international level. This game is beautifully designed and is a great puzzle platformer game for your kids to play.

In Semblance, you have control of a blob of goo called Squish. Something strange has happened to Squish’s planet and a poisonous crystal-like material has infected the world. It’s up to Squish to cleanse the world by collecting spheres that seem to heal the world.

The game has three worlds to explore with various levels per world. And the player can choose a level to take on, which is great for kids who get frustrated with something. Instead of just rage quitting, they can try another puzzle instead before coming back to try again. It really fosters a sense of resilience and teaches them to not give up.

What are your children's favourite video games? What do they learn from these? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. 

Squish gets around by forming and deforming the landscape around him to move about. He has limited powers: he can slam into a wall, floor or ledge to push it in or out and he can dash short distances (which is handy for flying over big chasms). To solve these puzzles your child has to figure out how to get Squish to his objective of collecting the spheres he needs.

Great for children's development

As a parent who is also a gamer, I truly believe that games can be good for a child’s development. There obviously has to be time limits and games have to be chosen carefully. Our 4-year-old is quite happy and is getting rather good at the Lego version of Jurassic World, so we let him have a go with Semblance.

Semblance allows kids to solve puzzles and problems using logic, engineering and using what they have available to them. My son did pretty well with the opening levels but lost interest as the puzzles got harder, so I’d suggest this for kids maybe 7 or older. 

The plot to Semblance is rather basic and the player is not told outright what led to the world being poisoned. There are clues in the murals in the background but it won’t be obvious to your kids. It seems that the inhabitants of this world were at war with each other and, coming from a South African developer, this could be a comment on how racial tensions are negatively affecting our country. 

But as this is not obvious it’ll probably go way over your child’s head and this would probably not be the game to use to open up that conversation with small kids.

While other reviewers might see this as a negative, as a parent it goes in the pro column: it’s not a very long game to clock, it took us around 3 hours and it might take your kids just a bit longer especially if they’re only allowed to a play for a short time a day. Because while I do believe that games can help a child’s development, everything needs to be consumed in moderation, including screen time.

Semblance is definitely a game that I’m glad we have in our Steam Library.

Available on Steam (R109) and Nintendo Switch (R142). 

What are your children's favourite video games? Tell us by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. 

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