Schein is what you consider a platformer with an exercise in patience. You may come to a part of the game that seems easy enough, but the game goes below the belt with a seemingly impossible section, and you have to be pinpoint accurate in your controls, begging you not to quit.
There are plenty of good things about the game, though. You play as a father to a son that you must find in a swamp. Along the way, you find a mysterious glowing item that illuminates hidden objects. Once illuminated, you see a lush forest with grass, fireflies, and an assorted amount of vines. Some of the hidden platforms have gears that move them in a path. Once you put away your illuminating guide, the forest goes away and you are left with a dark, damp place that is very brooding and melancholy. If you pause the game without your guide, the menu is just plain and ordinary. Pause the game with your guide out and you are treated to a lush menu filled with the green and bright things that the guide illuminates, which is a real treat. You can control your guide by pressing a key, which adds a puzzle element to the game.
The banter between the illuminating guide and your character sometimes have a short conversation, which adds to a characterization between the two. The man is a laid back, self loathing father who, prior to meeting his guide, was not interesting and ho-hum. The guide is the life of the game, both literally in its ability and figuratively, as she adds a quick wit and great dialogue between it and the father. There were times where Schein really shines in the relationship between the two with seemingly impossible feats.
A great banter and a great artwork wasn’t enough to save this game, though. Schein has some innovative puzzle aspects, such as placing a lantern on a platform so that the gear can turn and open a spot for you to sneak below a crevice. In earlier stages, the game is very fun and rewards the player with a sense of achievement when you go to the next part of the level. However, in later stages, the game gets increasingly hard to the point that it goes too far and you are left with frustration. There’s one stage in which you need great accuracy with both your movement and your control with your guide, as the illuminated platforms give way to non-illuminated spikes below. If you touch a spike, you die and must go back to the last checkpoint. If you fall into the water, you die and must go back to the last checkpoint. If even a whiff of a vine touches you, you die and must go back to the checkpoint. The checkpoint system is a little flawed in that it may be two parts, but you have to be perfect in those two parts in order for a checkpoint to arise. More often than not, you will be yelling “I didn’t even touch that vine!” or “I didn’t even touch the spikes!” than feeling accomplishment or any reward.
As much as the beauty and innovation Schein portrays, there are more frustrating and low ball elements that made me feel like quitting. Since this platformer wasn’t advertised as a rogue like, which it should, this one is very hard to recommend for anyone that loves 2D platformers with a unique control scheme. It’s not a bad game, just incredibly frustrating.