I originally read this as ‘metaverse’ and thought it was going to be some kind of NFT propaganda bullshit. Thankfully I remembered I can read and saw it wasn’t that at all. What Lies in the Multiverse is in fact a lovely surprise that uses time manipulation rather well.
There is a rather fascinating story within What Lies in the Multiverse that unravels the further you go and considering there is a time manipulation element to the game, I think the overarching story holds up really well.
The is a lot of exposition to be found is you take on many of the side quests and diversions on offer, that can get pretty dark in places and this leads me to a minor criticism. What Lies in the Multiverse is a mature gamee and on the whole handle mature subjects really well, but still gets caught up a little in sexual content = mature that for me, took me away from an otherwise genuinely well told affair. It’s not in your face, but just felt a little out of place. But your experience may vary.
That aside though, where this game shines in in the game play. If you are going to do puzzle platforming, precision based platforming and time manipulation you need to absolutely nail every aspect, or your game will fall flat. Thankfully What Lies in the Multiverse does all the right things and produce so top tier gameplay from the very get go.
The platforming is tight, in the way that every modern platformer should be. There are no excuses these days. The platformer is one of the oldest genres out there and over the past 30-40 years we have learned what works and what doesn’t. Here the dev team have made sure the game is built on a solid core and built outwards.
Which means the time manipulation and the puzzle elements fit well. I’ve played games in the past where the USP has been great but let down by the core. So kudos to them for getting this spot on. The puzzle elements themselves knit with the platforming so well. You will need to have nimble fingers to work out solutions and actually execute them.
I am thinking of Guacamelee! in terms of how good this balance feels. You will fumble your way through some parts, but as you progress the movement feels second nature and you are concentrating on the solutions. Making your way through a section with precision platforming whilst switching between times to hit the right marks just works so well.
Along with this the cast of characters is well rounded and I found myself genuinely interested in their fates. The writing is emotionally charged and that is shown in the characters on screen. People may say they are tired of pixel art based games. But I am sorry they still look bloody amazing to me and What Lies in the Multiverse is no exception.
As is going to be the way forward I will cover accessibility at the end.
Note: I talk as someone with visual impairment and ADHD so there may be other accesibility issues that affect others in different ways. I am not underminding them, I just cannot comment on them from experience.
What Lies in the Multiverse is pretty playable on the whole, but the white background text blocks and small fonts can be a pain witgh my limited vision and the game does require those basic options of the dark mode added in.
In fact the opening title card is too bright and this where the platform makers themselfves must have system wide options. Because there are seizure warnings (thanks to my son for pointing this out) but I failed to read it due to everything being bright.
That being said the game itself if pretty well contrasted and I could play through pretty much all of it without issue.
As someone with ADHD though the pacing and structure of the game kept me engaged, as there were no long drawn out areas that left me frustrated and I found the checkpointing to be pretty solid, which in turn meant I felt I could quit out and dive back in when I wanted, rather than the dreaded fear of worry how much I would lose if I quit now.