SDCC 14: Project Totem Is Cute – But Deadly

This year’s San Diego Comic-Con features a ton of well-known, awesome Xbox One games. If you happen to be there, however, be sure that you don’t miss out on some of the up-and-coming titles at the Xbox Lounge – like the colorful and deceptively challenging Project Totem.

Developed by Microsoft’s Press Play studio, Project Totem tasks you with guiding two characters through multi-tier, sidescrolling levels. Players have to coordinate the two little square dudes – purple and green – sometimes switching between them mid-jump, or maneuvering them to solve puzzles.

It feels like pure, unadulterated puzzle-platforming; the style is simple, clean, and vibrant. The controls are basic, and the objectives are obvious (or seem like they are, anyway). But the skill comes in actually executing: There was a moment where we were literally juggling the two characters, while sliding along ice, while trying to collect little gems, while trying to not fall into a bottomless pit.

Each level is short, but the progression gets pretty difficult. By the time you reach the boss of world one, you better have developed some twitch platforming skills – and that’s just the first world. Project Totem has at least three worlds, composed of a dozen or so levels, each with a boss battle at the end. And hey, we might possibly get some secret worlds beyond those – it certainly seems like that kind of game!

On top of that, Project Totem features a multiplayer co-op mode, which puts four little guys on the screen. If you thought juggling two was tough, the challenge of stacking four on top of each other, to chain together jumps, to reach secret ledges… well, that’s a whole new test. And it’s pretty great.