One of the more fun and interesting gameplay experiences during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con was playing Project Totem at Microsoft’s Xbox Lounge, located at the Manchester Grand Hyatt during the convention. Project Totem was developed by Press Play, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Press Play previously developed titles such as Max & the Magic Marker, Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood, Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin and Tentacles: Enter the Mind. Overall, Project Totem was a nostalgic, retro, throwback experience.
In the game, one player controls two pieces of a totem pole simultaneously. However, each totem object is on a separate path. Sometimes, the totems must essentially teleport and switch their paths in order to get past certain obstacles. The game has smooth controls. Both totems will move with the touch of the directional pad, or jump when the jump button is pushed. However, the alternate pathways will hinder or change the movement or placement of the totems. The game has a fun, 1980s throwback style. Project Totem evokes a classic arcade platform game feel. In addition, the timing of certain movements and jumps gives the game a rhythmic quality that I really enjoy.
This is the type of game that is great to pick up and play. It can be played solo or locally, with a friend. The game really finds its challenges when the obstacles for the totems get a lot trickier. The later stages in the game that require perfectly timed and elaborate jumps. The totems have to magically switch their places throughout these jumps to be shot out of triangle-shaped cannons. Some of the obstacles have multiple approaches to be beaten. Some obstacles are also incredibly tricky and require a great deal of thought in order to get past them. Other obstacles allow the totems to be stacked together for some fun team-up jumps. There are some enemies throughout the levels, and they have to avoided instead of attacked.
The crisp, clear, straight and angular graphics give the game has a simple, minimalist look and style that works effectively. The controls were very smooth, and the objects onscreen looked and moved fluidly. The game plays in full HD at 60 FPS which complements the retro look and tone very well.
Project Totem will be available through the Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles some time later this year. If you are a fan of simple platformers or indie titles, I definitely recommend checking it out.