Preview: Filament

14 Jan 2020

One of the amazing things about video games is their ability to entertain while also teaching you something about yourself. Sometimes you learn you have fast reflexes or can make split decisions. Other times you simply learn a game can, in fact, make you cry. Filament by Beard Envy taught me that I’m not as smart as I thought I was. In fact, either Filament is being made by the smartest people in the world, or I am really, really, dumb.

Filament is being developed by Beard Envy and published by Kasedo Games. It will be released on Steam in Q1 2020.

Filament starts pretty simply with your arrival onto a corporate ship called The Alabaster. Almost immediately, you come into contact with a woman named Juniper, who is trapped somewhere on the ship and needs you to restore power to free her. How do you do this, you ask? Simple! You just have to go to all the power nodes scattered across the ship and reactivate them….and solve their brain twisting puzzles in order to do so.

While the exploration of The Alabaster has you take control of a pretty typical looking astronaut, the puzzles switch you over to an adorable little droid with a power cable dragging along behind them. In order to restore power, you must power up various towers by wrapping the cable around them. Seems simple enough, but it doesn’t take long for Filament to throw curveballs at you. The first one being you cannot cross over a path you have already made with your cable, and every connection has to be seamless with no backtracking. 

Each power node comes with its own new challenge. Sometimes, the towers are split into different colors, and those colors have to be matched before you can move on to another. Other times, the towers have to be powered in a specific order, and wrapping your cable around a tower without power will kill the connection entirely. What at once seemed a simple challenge quickly becomes a maddening test of logic and pathing. If you do manage to beat all of the stages in a power node, Juniper will contact you and teach you a little more about her situation while also dropping you a bit of lore.

Unfortunately, I struggled heavily completing more than a couple of power nodes. In less than an hour I found myself completely stumped by the puzzles put before me. In Filament’s current state there are no tutorials or hints at all. So, while I am admittedly not very good at puzzle games, I found myself in a situation where I simply could not progress anymore. After spending an hour or more on a single puzzle, I started to question my sanity. I began to wonder if there were any gameplay mechanics I simply did not understand. After several hours of not being able to solve any of the puzzles I was faced with, I eventually conceded and apologized to my loved ones for my stupidity.

All of my personal challenges aside, Filament has an aesthetic that I greatly enjoyed, and I did find the puzzles to be pretty cool and interesting. I just felt like the difficulty ramped up so quickly and that, without any guidance, I didn’t get to experience as much of it as I would have liked. Of course, Filament is still in active development, and any number of tweaks and changes are likely to be made. If you are a puzzle fan, I think there is a lot to like. Just as long as you are smarter than I am.

Preview copy provided by Kasedo Games for PC. Screenshots and featured image provided by Kasedo Games.