Genre: Lemmings-Like, Puzzle
System: Steam (Windows) (also available for PS4, PS5, and PS VR1 and VR2)
Developer|Publisher: tha ltd. | Enhance
Age Rating: US E10+ | UK 7+
Price: UK £25.99 | EU € 29,99 | USD $29.99
Release Date: May 16th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Enhance.
Humanity is a long-awaited puzzle game from developers tha ltd. This Lemmings-style puzzler has players leading mindless crowds around maps, picking up items, attacking enemies, and getting to the goal intact.
Lemmings in 1991
For those who are too young to remember, Lemmings was a video game created in 1991 by DMA Design and published by Psygnosis. I loved Lemmings deeply, and I played A LOT of it. I actually still have the original copy that my dad bought for the family back in the day.
Lemmings were based on a weird myth that the rodents called lemmings would follow each other anywhere, even if every lemming in front of them died doing it. It’s not entirely true, but the myth spawned from watching these weird little rodents’ behaviours during population booms. These rat-like cuties would have to range outside of their normal environment, looking for enough food to sustain the sudden rise in the number of lemmings, and it would lead them into dangerous situations.
This colorful, cute little game has spawned a whole genre of these types of games, including things like Pikman, The World of Goo, A Boy and His Blob, as well as a ton more. The newest of these crowd-control games is called Humanity. As a big fan of the genre, I was super excited to see this game all the way to the end.
The Story and Gameplay of Humanity
You are a dog. A Shiba Inu dog, to be exact. Players can bark to help lead the huge groups of humans around traps, over hills, around enemies and swim through water. In the beginning, players just need to get humans from point A to point B.
In all honesty, the story isn’t the most important part of Humanity, but it’s basically about a pup helping the human race against an enemy that wants to eradicate them. All the story cutscenes are skippable, but I highly suggest watching them through; the story is interesting and makes what you’re doing make a whole lot more sense.
The humans in this game are mindless and need much help getting where they need to go; they will just walk off a cliff if you ask them to. But players can assign powers to a square, forcing the humans to turn, jump, high jump, arm themselves with lightsabers, split up, and more. One of the more interesting powers you get later in the game is a Follow order, where you can have a group of humans follow after you and perform tasks.
All these powers make for some interesting gameplay in Humanity, extending it far beyond even the reach of the original Lemmings and other similar titles.
This Game is Pretty Big
I was a little worried when I saw the $30 USD price tag on Humanity. It seemed like it wouldn’t have that much to do in it. Boy, was I wrong! Humanity contains more than 80 levels, has a level creator, and has many user-made levels to play. They took some of the best user-made levels from the beta and added them to the full title. I never played the beta, so I didn’t get a chance to throw my user-made level into the mix, but I have since made one. What a fun idea to add to a Lemming-like!
I think most people will spend about 15-20 hours with the story mode, and people looking to get 100% and get all the extra items, called Goldys, will have even more playtime from it. I can see the user-made levels adding another several hours onto my current playtime of 25 hours.
Players get so many unlockables when they collect more Goldys, including new outfits and looks for their human models, stats, and the look of the Cores inside the Hub.
Stats that players can unlock include the total number of people saved, the number of times a trial was completed on the first try, and the number of times you jumped in the game. Most of these stats are silly, but it is a fun addition to Humanity that makes you want to try harder.
Did I Mention You Can Give Your Humans Lightsabers?
A war is happening in Humanity, and the enemy is a human-like group called the Others. They want all your Goldys, but you need those to upgrade your human outfits and make them different shapes. So it’s best if you don’t let those Others get your goods.
Thankfully, players can give their humans either lightsabers or guns, depending on whether they need to be melee or ranged attackers. This adds a whole new kind of puzzle: matching up your army to make sure you can overrun the enemy.
New and Interesting Way to Play Lemming Puzzles
There is a lot to love about Humanity. While it is part of an established genre, it’s interesting and fresh. It’s pleasantly 3D with a lot of love and thought that’s gone into every UI aspect. The buttons bob around in a way that makes them look and feel more dynamic. The humans move like real people (although kind of brainlessly).
The puzzles are amazingly well made, and they always follow the same rules. There are walkthrough videos for each trial that are usually pretty helpful. Humanity is surprisingly well-polished, and it feels amazing to play.
Some Cons in Humanity
Unfortunately, there was one bug when I was playing through; however, the developers fixed it before release day, so you won’t have to experience it like I did! Lucky you! A problem that you will have to experience, though, is the one I had with the hint videos. Some of the videos skip around a little bit, making them a little bit hard to follow the first time watching it through. Not impossible, but you really have to be paying attention.
I have a feeling many people would disagree with me, but I strongly disliked the music. It certainly is thematic, but it’s just so weird. It kept distracting me until I had to turn it off and use my music. It was a small thing, but given how good the rest of the game was, I decided to just try my best to ignore the music.
The user-made levels are super fun; the level maker is great and well-made. However, it does take a long time to load. And since I am playing Humanity before most people, there aren’t any user levels really to take up all that loading time. I worry it will be even slower when people start to upload their own stuff. Hopefully, this will not be an issue once everything is online.
Humanity is amazing. There is a whole lot to do in the story mode, and there’s even more to do in the user-created levels and level maker. Minus a couple of small problems I had, this game was almost perfect. I love it deeply. I would recommend this game 100% if you love the genre!
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up:
Loved lemmings as a kid! This looks marvelous