You know what to expect when you open an FPS. You get a gun, point it at an enemy, and shoot them. It’s a proven formula that has worked since the ’90s, with so many games since founded on that basic premise. Lemnis Gate is no different but, at the same time, it is quite different. The shoot itself is exactly what you would expect, but it’s not the bulk of the experience. In fact, the mechanics are based on the puzzle genre, not the shooter. Instead of the simple shoot I expected, I found myself facing a lair of mind-boggling confusion. It’s not a complaint – it’s beautiful.
I started off with a few synchronous one-on-one matches. I have an objective to defend while my companion attacks it. He sneaks out only for me to thwart his efforts, pulling him down. Now he’s a ghost, always doing things that seemingly have no impact – that will be important for later. I win this round, don’t I? In any other FPS you would imagine, but we start over and it’s the same round, only now we play like new me while our old ones run us. My companion then shot my old variant down, running away, and his ghost then destroys the objective as he is now alive again. Basically imagine Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time spliced with Halo.
The puzzle element comes through in the planning phase when you define your strategy to defend the objectives and save your past from your enemy’s future. You can watch everything you and your enemy have made unfold from above in a flying drone as the timer ticks down for you to choose your character. This gives you a brief window to understand what went wrong and how you can avoid your past failures, while also preventing your enemy’s new version from throwing another key into the works. There’s a lot to dissect, but you can do more than just watch it all fall apart. You can place turrets to block certain doors, extend cover fire to delay future enemies, or plant mines to make roads dangerous. It is a 4D chess game where the pieces wield M16s.
Lemnis Gate is an incredibly smart take on the typical objective-based shooter due to its puzzle roots, leading to competitive matches where you have to get into your enemy’s mind. It’s strategic in a way the shooter genre seldom exploits. You’re usually given simple goals that you can try over and over again, the strategy of maneuvering carefully, staying out of sight, watching your corners, and pre-shooting hot spots. It’s not so much about planning or solving a puzzle in real time as it is about avoiding certain death. This is where Lemnis Gate has an advantage. As Battles Royales dominate the market and first person shooters stick to their stereotypical roots, Lemnis Gate offers something that has never been done before.
Alongside Splitgate, he cuts a new turn in the middle. There’s nothing wrong with the norm – it’s been successful for so many years for good reason – but, as Portal did in the 2000s, Lemnis Gate offers something new in this oversaturated space. : it combines two genres that shouldn’t work together and it does. so remarkably well. Looking at the 2020s, I’m sure both Doors will stand out among the crowd due to their unique take on the genre, and I hope they inspire more developers to take some intriguing leaps of faith in uncharted territory.
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