Sym is an upcoming puzzle platformer by ATRAX Games that is ambitious in scope and daring in execution. The sketchy, black and white graphics immediately drew me in, and the theme and gameplay mechanics further tantalized me. As developer Sebastiano Morando explained to me, Sym is trying to capture the feeling of Social Anxiety Disorder.
In Sym, you control a sociophobe who retreats into his own fabricated world and creates two alter egos: the positive one who wants to confront his problems and the negative one who wants to hide away. These two characters literally inhabit negative and positive space, represented by the dark and light tiles that make up each level.
As you explore the imaginary world, you discover various threats, both obvious (like monsters) and more hidden (like the plants that eat you when you step on their seeds). In the white space, you control a gangly being who can run and jump, but to avoid many obstacles, you will have to dive into the black. There, you control a flailing creature who moves upside down through the darkness and uses the white space as platforms. By swapping back and forth between your dark and light forms, you can navigate around dangers and reach the exit of each level.
Sometimes there will not be enough space to inhabit, so you’ll need to create more. Sym features a circuit simulator mechanic, where you have to hit buttons to activate logic gates, which shift certain tiles from negative to positive or vice versa. Doing this creates new platforms and tunnels that allow one of your incarnations to progress.
From the early demo I’ve played, it is obvious that Sym is something special. The public beta of Sym will be released on October 31, with the full release planned for November 15. It will be available for Windows and Mac and sold through Desura and the Humble Store for $2.99 ($1.49 for pre-order/beta). An OUYA release is also planned. Sym has been entered into the Ludum Dare October Challenge, where the goal is to take a game to market and earn $1.
For now, you can support Sym on Steam Greenlight.