Review – Humanity

Tetsuya Mizuguchi is one of the most important and underrated developers to come from the Sega side of the Japanese industry. Even though most people associate creative and bizarre ideas with Nintendo, his titles, such as Space Channel 5, Rez, as well as post-Dreamcast titles like Tetris Effect, Lumines, and Meteos (this one having been developed alongside Masahiro Sakurai) are some of the most creative and beloved hidden gems of the Japanese gaming industry. When his company, Enhance, announces a new game, I am immediately intrigued by it, even though I very rarely understand what the hell is going on. Humanity, the company’s latest outing, is no different.

Humanity Plot

Don’t you just hate when that happens?

The cryptic title is a dead giveaway of what to expect. Humanity is a bizarre puzzle game in which you, a spirit of the afterlife in the shape of a shiny Shiba Inu, are tasked by a higher entity to guide damned souls to the light. Sadly, these souls are unable to think on their own. They are unable to do anything but walk straight and follow orders. As a result, this spirit doge has to put markers along their path in order to tell them when to turn, when to jump, and so on. Anything to guide them to the end marker of the level.

Humanity teaches you its bizarre gameplay loop in a moderately-paced and very intuitive way. It takes its time giving you a new power-up here and there, teaching you how to use it. The controls are pretty intuitive once you get used to how your doge powers place markers on the map. The first few puzzles or so act more like tutorials, but once things get going, Humanity becomes challenging, but never overly frustrating. It hits a pretty incredible balance of thought-provoking and fair. You can pause the game and take a look at the map in its entirety, allowing you to mentally draw the correct pathway in your head before actually doing so. You are also not penalized if you let the wandering souls fall from any platform.

Humanity gameplay

Follow the doge. Y’all know you’d do that in real life as well.

That being said, there is a map creator mode available from the start, so if you’re willing to bang your head against a wall out of frustration, I am sure some users will come up with what you’re looking for. I have played enough custom levels from Super Mario Maker 2 to realise that humanity is sadistic and will come up with gauntlets meant for the most masochistic of players. Maybe that was the message behind the game’s title after all.

Regarding the game itself, there’s very little else that can or needs to be said. The plot itself is confusing and obtuse, and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell was going on in that nonsense of a game. The gameplay is confusing to describe, but really straightforward once you pick up and controller and play Humanity for just a few minutes, just like most games released by Enhance. You can even play the game in VR if you want to. I decided not to for the purposes of this review in particular, but it is compatible with PCVR headsets. The PlayStation versions are also compatible with their respective VR headsets.

Humanity Goldies

These big golden guys are Goldies. Rescue enough of them and you’ll be granted new abilities.

As expected by its publisher’s track record, Humanity is equally weird and pleasing to look at. It’s bizarre, it’s surreal, but it’s also simplistic, minimalistic. You see a dog, you see a barrage of people walking to their demise, and you see block-shaped puzzles, all well-designed and supported by an excellent framerate. Likewise, the music is pretty good. Sure, it’s not the same level of artistic gut punch seen in Tetris Effect, and it’s a bit too experimental at times (if you’re not into more, uh, “sophisticated” genres, you might not end up enjoying these tunes), but in no way are they poorly composed. Sound effects are also impactful, and of course, you’ll hear a lot of adorable Shiba Inu barks.

Humanity performance

Even though there might literally be five hundred people onscreen at any given moment, Humanity’s framerate remains rock solid.

Humanity is the kind of experimental breath of fresh air we rarely see being released nowadays. Evoking the spirit of the more bizarre and experimental games from the Dreamcast era, it features a bonkers premise and a pointless plot, but also excellent controls, a really intuitive gameplay loop, and of course, as to be expected from a game published by Enhance, trippy visuals and great music. Though not the publisher’s most entertaining release in recent memory, it is a title that’s well worth your money if you’re looking for the next weird thing to play on your PC or PS5.


Graphics: 8.0

Bizarre, surreal, but still simplistic and pleasing to the eyes. Gets the job done with honors, especially due to the excellent performance.

Gameplay: 8.5

Guiding a constant stream of doomed humans to salvation is easy at first, but gets progressively more challenging and interesting with each new level, and each new move acquired. It’s really weird, but oddly intuitive.

Sound: 8.0

You can always count on Enhance titles to feature great soundtracks. Humanity‘s soundtrack is very experimental, a bit too weird at times, but it’s still pretty good.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Humanity is a really bizarre game, with a cryptic plot and nonsensical premise. Yet, I couldn’t stop playing it. It’s the kind of weird Dreamcast-era experimental stuff we rarely see being released nowadays.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Humanity is available now on PS4, PS5 and PC. All versions are compatible with their respective VR headsets.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Humanity was provided by the publisher.