Membrane Is A Trippy Physics Platformer Inside Someone’s Body

I can’t explain precisely how a fly that didn’t get into some bloke’s eyeballs triggers a puzzle platformer, but hey, that’s what you’re dealing with in Membrane. Good, but very weird.

Released on the Switch last week, Membrane is the byproduct of two-person studio Perfect Hat. The game kicks off with a bizarre intro sequence somehow making a link between a fly and a person’s central nervous system, but really what you’re dealing with is a physics-based single screen platformer.

After getting through the opening sequence, you control the avatar – Sig – as it progresses from point A to point B. Sig collects orbs along the way, building bridges and platforms by firing red blocks that stick into the wall and sway, depending on how many blocks are attached.

Beyond that, Sig can jump and destroy anything of its own creation. Pressing X fires an arrow-shaped projectile that neutralises any red blocks it hits, although you can also use the projectile to push objects along (or into the air).

And that, beyond the primary colour palette and the pixelated graphics, is the basis of what Membrane really is. It’s a sandbox, with the player having just enough tools to manipulate the environment in a multitude of ways.

Puzzles can be solved elegantly, building neat little bridges, adopt the brute force approach, or maybe try and beat each level with the use of pixel-perfect platforming skills. The major sticking point is pools of purple liquid: land in them, and you’ll restart the level from scratch.

Hitting L or B brings up a cursor of sorts, allowing you to be a little more precise with your block placement. And once you start dealing with moving objects, pools of death and the frustration of walls of white (which blocks can’t stick to), that’s where the challenge of Membrane comes into its own.

You don’t have to both orbs in every level to advance, although you’ll miss out on some bonus unlocks. But for the most part, you’re just dealing with a funky looking retro sandbox. It’s a test of your imagination and creativity, rather than your platforming skills ala Super Meat Boy or something like Celeste.

Membrane is available through the US Switch eShop for $US9.99. It’s due out on the Australian eShop store in March, although you can get the game with a US eShop account. Here’s a handy guide if you need a hand.

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