Humanity Demo Preview – Man’s best friend is a glowing Shiba Inu

Humanity Header

The fate of humanity is in your paws, but you’re not a head of state or even part of a shadowy illuminati cabal. No, in Humanity you’re just a dog. Well, that’s putting it lightly, since you’re a) a Shiba Inu and b) made out of pure light. People will naturally follow your direction. Humanity is quite a strange game when you put it like that…

The goal of each stage is quite simply to direct endless crowds of humans from their spawn point to a glowing exit. As the old adage goes, an individual person might be intelligent, but once they’re in a crowd, that intelligence drops precipitously. In Humanity, they’ve been reduced to a mindless mass content to march forward unless told to do otherwise.

That’s where you come in, you handsome glowing Shiba Inu, you. Run around ahead of the stream of people and you can bark to the skies and place a command to change direction, to jump, to long jump, to… be a bit floaty?

The levels that you face are suitably minimalist, made from large blocks that give you a simple structure to navigate and understand. Humans can climb up striped walls and survive a drop of two, darker blocks can be pushed and drop into slots (and you can place a command on top that moves with the block for when people then walk on its top), switches will trigger parts of the world so long as people are walking across them, and more.

Humanity Demo Preview PSVR 2

There’s ten developer-made levels within the time-limited demo that’s currently available, and things escalate quickly. For one thing, you want to pass by the Goldies – tall golden humanoids that will follow a crowd – and then there’s things like large fans that can blow people around, and a few encounters with the Others – dark humans that are rather ominous looking and which will provide some rather barmy lightsaber and cannon battles per the gameplay reveal trailer.

You’ll be taught how to leap into an briefly possess a human to climb up higher than you can jump, and that you can move through a stream of people at will, which is useful in some other puzzles. The demo also features one level where you have a limited number of humans, and another where you need to place all of the commands before hitting go.

With the promise of 90 levels in the final game, there’s sure to be a lot of playful puzzles, but that will be nothing compared to the creativity of the game’s community and the inclusion of a level builder. With some developer curation, there’s sure to be tens thousands of great puzzles that will be created in short order.

Humanity Shiba Inu puzzle game

It’s a slight shame that the level creation tools aren’t accessible in VR, but the rest of the game is. Rez Infinite and Tetris Effect creators Enhance are the publishers this time around, with the game developed by tha ltd. and designer Yugo Nakamura. While Rez and Tetris Effect could be argued to be best-played within VR, it’s more of a nice option to have in Humanity and I certainly enjoyed playing it on PSVR 2. That said, there’s a really pleasing level of 3D space when playing in 3D, and a nice style to the brief text-based cutscenes.

While it’s fun in its own right, there’s a lot of comparisons that can and will be made by anyone trying to describe what Humanity is like. So let’s get a few of them out of the way. From a Western perspective, you might note certain similarities to Lemmings. From a Japanese perspective, it might be Chu-Chu Rocket. From a design perspective, there’s some of the minimalist style of Echochrome.

If any of those video game touchstones appealed to you in the past, then Humanity is a game that’s well worth keeping an eye on when it releases in May. Better yet, you can try out the demo for yourself across PS5, PS4 and PC before 6th March, to see if this is your kind of game.

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  1. Is this demo playable in flat/normal mode? I went looking for the demo right after the State of Play but the store listing made me think it was VR-only. Your reference to the editor not being available in VR is making me think otherwise now.

    • Yeah, you can play the demo on TV. VR is entirely optional and you switch into VR mode with an option on the main menu.

      Sony really, really need to sort themselves out and put in better labelling on the PS Store and on PS5.

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