Engaging cooperative experiences have been in higher demand in recent times, and it’s a market that significantly benefits from creativity in a way other genres don’t necessitate. The upcoming Zorya: The Celestial Sisters by developer Madlife Divertissement and publisher TLM Partners is an intriguing co-op title that utilizes shadow at the crux of its gameplay to give both players vital perspectives and tasks to complete. My time viewing this game’s preview event has shown me the addictive potential that this charming, thought-provoking puzzler can provide.
Throughout this game, the goddess of the night, Aysu, finds herself stranded on Earth following a fall from the heavens. To make matters worse, she can’t stand in the sunlight. Thankfully, however, Aysu’s sister, Solveig, the goddess of the sun, is present to aid her. Players take the role of either goddess, and they provide equally impactful gameplay consequences. Perhaps most notable is that Solveig alters the time of day, thereby adjusting the shadows Aysu can traverse.
I find this divided gameplay balance genuinely genius as it expertly divides necessary progress between the two players. Although the divided balance is dependent on the level design, conceptually speaking, it’s a standout method for not leaning to one player or the other. Further, the mechanics are easily understood no matter the crowd, as light and darkness are instantly visually recognizable.
Memorable cooperative experiences test players’ communication skills and Zorya demands that in spades in rather obvious ways given the utilization of shadows. Still, there’s more to this title, such as the inherent abilities that Aysu and Solveig have. Since Aysu is the only playable character on the ground, that gives her immediate and up-close access to objects and potential hazards that Solveig can only perceive from afar. Aysu is able to push puzzle elements and dangers into the sunlight from the shadows, leading to Solveig taking action. While that gameplay loop sounds concept, it can become somewhat complex.
The shape of structures has an immeasurable impact on how progress is made, making it a continually fresh affair. In addition, the uniqueness of the map layouts aids in enhancing the needed communication between players, so it isn’t solely one-note and lackadaisical. There’s also a hefty degree of content to look forward to across 42 levels, with a collectible scattered across each of them. The expected playtime is a rough estimate given how it’s entirely dependent on completionist mentalities and puzzle-solving skills. Still, it’s not intended to be overwhelmingly lengthy, so it’s aimed toward the casual audience.
Zorya: The Celestial Sisters stands out as a charming co-op game that friends or couples would have a delight experiencing primarily thanks to its partitioned perspectives and gameplay tools. Its split-screen and online play functionality makes it readily accessible, so anyone from around the world can connect with one another.
Zorya: The Celestial Sisters is releasing for Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store on February 8, 2022. Intrigued prospective players can currently add the game to their Steam Wishlist via its store page.
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