PAX Prime 2014: Project Totem Impressions

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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PAX Prime 2014 | Project Totem

Let it never be said that I am console biased. I may generally prefer Nintendo, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try out a great Sony or Microsoft game. It was with this in mind that I agreed to demo a new Xbox One title codenamed Project Totem. The reason for such a name should be apparent, since you control Totems to play. What was less apparent going in was how ridiculously fun this game was!

PAX Prime 2014 | Project Totem

Created by Press Play, a small team of talented individuals, Project Totem takes a simple premise and makes it wildly complex and fun. That premise is this — control two characters with the same input. One moves left, so does the other. The catch? Both Totems traverse different terrain, facing different hazards simultaneously. That careful jump might work for the top Totem, but might kill the bottom. Project Totem took this simple premise to great heights, introducing new mechanics at a steady clip to keep things interesting.

Here’s an example from early on: with a press of a button, I would switch which Totem is where. This is important, because you will repeatedly come across colored barriers that can only safely be touched by a similarly colored Totem. That’s just the beginning, though. While the version I played is still in progress, it already shows a wealth of polish and features tight controls, so you’re never going to die for any other reason than your lack of ability. Every death is fair.

PAX Prime 2014 | Project Totem

How can you not love this game?

Another nice feature of the game is it features local co-op. You and your friend each controls a set of Totems, and have to work together to get to the end of the stage safely. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the game is beautiful and colorful, running at a smooth clip.

For those already interested, there is a closed Beta that might open up soon. The highest compliment I can give Project Totem is that it’s the first game I would actually consider buying a Microsoft console for, which is kinda huge. Though I wish it was coming to other systems, I can appreciate Microsoft needs some indie love, too.

Check out the trailer and let me know what you think!

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.