DERU – The Art of Cooperation is an abstract co-op puzzle game that has players helping each other to overcome obstacles and reach the exit. It’s all geometric forms and streams, and it looks quite elegant, really.
Playing as both a white and a black shape, players can interact with opposite elements. As the white shape, you can safely cross black streams and obstacles, and vice versa. Touching an element of the same color means instant death and a level restart.
From there, things get complicated quickly. Streams need to be blocked, triggers will have to be activated in the right order, moves need to be timed just right. Each of the game’s 70 levels requires a lot of thought, or sometimes stubborn trial and error.
The beauty of it all lies in the game’s simplicity and accessibility. The basic rules are fairly easy to grasp. Even the advanced stuff can be figured out quite quickly both by new players as well as spectators. In fact, when I encountered DERU for the first time at Gamescom, it was just as satisfying for the people in the back. Apparently, you don’t need to hold a controller to enjoy it. There was lots of gesticulating, lots of suggestions, and a fair bit of laughter. Signs of a good game!
If you have no friends or feeling particularly brave, you can also try to play it alone as a sort of twin-stick puzzler. But where’s the fun in that? DERU is clearly meant to be enjoyed with other people around, and it truly shines as a co-op experience.