World Splitter, developed by NeoBird, is a delightful puzzle platformer where you literally split the world in half to get your UFO-critical device back from mischievous critters that look like colorful balls of fluff.
The gameplay, at its most basic, is guiding your alien character across the map from left to right. However, you have to avoid pools of water and lava, pull levers, travel through portals, and trap angry spike balls so they can’t kill you before you reach your objective. What is your objective? Simply to gather as many of the multicolored critters as you can, and exit safely to the right.
The game’s concept is straightforward, but there are so many nuances — like the possibility of getting crushed by the world dividing line and a wall pressing in on you. The possible creative solutions and all the little things you need to watch out for make World Splitter much more complex as you progress. With how simple the game is at its core, it’s surprisingly engaging and always interesting to see what tricks you can pull off next.
The game is divided into six themed worlds which each have ten stages, or maps. Each of these worlds has different primary challenges, which are teased in the cutscenes beforehand. For example, before the world with the spiky ball enemies, the main character ran into one while chasing after critters in a cutscene. A similar preview happened with levers and bridges for the next world.
At the end of each stage, awards are given based on how many critters were collected, how long it took to exit the map, and how many times you rotated the world split line.
I’d estimate each of these worlds took me about 30 to 45 minutes to get through, which is plenty of engaging gameplay time for yourself and a friend, should you choose to play their co-op mode.
Using Your Skills and Your Wits
So how do you actually get past all the blockers and pits of death to get to the exit? By splitting the world (or map) of course.
In each stage, there are always two maps layered on top of each other. The line between them follows your cursor and splits these two maps. You can also rotate this line so the split between the two is different.
If you rotate the map-splitting line 180 degrees clockwise, the first map might be on top of your screen whereas the second map would be on the bottom. If you rotate it 180 degrees again, it will flip again so that the second map is on top. The same goes for left and right, and in different situations, you’ll need to figure out which configuration you need.
In terms of obstacles, there could be a wall in one map that is impossible to climb over whereas it’s just flat ground in the other. There may be stairs you can’t reach the top of or wide uncovered pits of water in one map, but the other map allows you to skip them.
Even more interestingly, you can trap enemies in one map while they’d roam free in the other. You can even conceal them under pieces of land where they can’t move at all. Then you’ll be able to use your ghost vision, which you unlock in World 2, to spy on them for a chuckle. I did this very thing to one of the angry spike balls which you can see in a screenshot further down.
New Worlds, New Powers
As I mentioned, in between worlds, there are cutscenes giving you a preview of the main objective or obstacle in the next world. However, with new enemies and obstacles in new worlds also come new powers.
Early on, you unlock the ability to jump. A bit later, you unlock that ghost vision I spoke of. This allows you to see one map layered on top of the other one in a stage without having to move the line back and forth to check out the difference.
The ghost vision reminded me a lot of Unbound: World’s Apart where the main character can form a bubble around itself to make that portion of the map a portal into a different world. Though the mechanics work differently, the layering of maps, or “worlds”, is very similar.
It was really interesting to see the two platformers’ different handling of world splitting and map layering. Fortunately, both have handled it well and in their own unique ways, making for very enjoyable puzzle experiences.
Keep Yourself (and a Friend) Busy For a Day
Though the game is short and sweet, it’ll absolutely keep you entertained for a few hours. Perhaps, it’ll captivate your attention for even longer if you’re a completionist who isn’t a genius at puzzles, like me.
Though the game is short and sweet, it’ll absolutely keep you entertained for a few hours. Perhaps, it’ll captivate your attention for even longer if you’re a completionist who isn’t a genius at puzzles, like me. It’s even more fun with a friend in co-op mode, where you can partner up and help each other get past obstacles. I myself played a few maps with my sister who loves these kinds of games.
I thoroughly enjoyed World Splitter and would absolutely recommend it, especially to anyone who isn’t looking for anything too intense in a game but enjoys pure platforming and puzzling. Now, excuse me while I go back and catch every critter in the stages where I missed one out of three due to an angry spike ball blocking my way.