A dark puzzle platformer, Selma and the Wisp’s gimmick comes from the unique control scheme. Instead of controlling Selma directly, the player assumes the role of a floating wisp, essentially acting as a cursor, and guides Selma through a dark nightmarish world.
Each stage is as linear as can be but constantly present the player with new types of hazards to conquer. As the wisp moves forward, Selma moves forward. Need Selma to stop so she doesn’t mindlessly jump off a cliff, tap the face button. Is there an obstacle in the way? Blow it up with the wisp energy. Most navigation solutions can be solved with minimal thought but there is usually one tricky element per level that might scratch a head for an extra minute but will never become a game stopping stumper. Most stages only take a few minutes to complete, making this a great portable experience that can be completed in a couple sittings. Unfortunately, there are some awkwardly long load times in-between levels but the checkpoint system is forgiving.
Although guiding Selma can be finicky at times, players will feel the added stress of the timer feature. As the wisp strays from Selma’s sight, her heart rate increases and the screen gets darker. Once the screen is covered it blackness, the game restarts back to the nearest checkpoint. Alternatively, if the wisp gets trapped under some rocks, uses too much exploding power, or lingers too long underwater, the wisp will perish. However, if a player dies, this knowledge is immediately applied within the next attempt and doesn’t become much of an issue.
With no dialog, Selma and the Wisp conveys an eerie story through its dark fever dream visuals. Designed specifically in low-poly and dark environments, this platformer tells its story all through visual representation and is all the better for it. A cross between A Nightmare Before Christmas and Limbo, the emphasis on silhouettes and creepy things provides a memorable atmosphere.
Even though the challenge is light with shorter gameplay time, Selma and the Wisp provides a lightly satisfying experience that has unique elements that stand out for mostly the right reasons. Like only being able to eat a single bite from your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant, it will ultimately make you wanting something more.
Also available on PC via Steam.
Also Try: Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (SNES) or Child of Light (multi)
Better Than: Seaman (Dreamcast)
Wait For It: Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch)