A gorgeous, deserted planet to explore as two different people...the mysterious disappearance, not only of the entire planetary population, but also of the scientific explorers who preceded you to the planet...Schizm is a marvelously put-together game.
From the first absolutely gorgeous screen of the nighttime living city, to the balloon field city floating high above the countryside, the game of Schizm takes you on a riveting journey across an alien landscape. If there was any flaw to the game, it was the inability to explore more of the cities and landscapes I adventured through. (I always have an extremely naughty desire to rummage around in deserted houses, don't you?) The music and sound effects more than matched the gorgeous scenery.
Then came the puzzles...the horridly difficult puzzles. I just about lost it when one walkthrough mentioned that I needed to use geometry to solve one nasty little puzzle. Never haven taken a course in geometry, I wondered what the game designers were thinking to include a puzzle that required that kind of knowledge. I finally felt a little better when I reached the final group of puzzles on the last island. At least I solved most of them without constantly referring to a walkthrough!
The idea is that a planet has been discovered in which the entire population has vanished completely. The teams of scientists that are sent to examine the planet also begin to vanish mysteriously, one by one. You and your partner are separated upon arrival, as your ship crashes. You begin as the female half of the team, but can switch back and forth to the male half any time you like. Sometimes you need both team members to solve an access problem, so you'd better figure out how to reach a mutual location pretty quickly. What's that? Once you find one another, you still can't see each other due to some dimensional shift? Oh well, fortunately, that doesn't prevent you from working together to solve the mysterious disappearances.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that you'll receive the help of the friendly and not so friendly "ghosts"? Needless to say, most of the advice is cryptic and sometimes downright contradictory, especially when you have to choose between going on and possibly destroying the planet, or backing off and leaving. There are also daily logs of the scientists conveniently left around for you to read.
Although the difficulty of the puzzles may make you hesitate to play this game, the hints and walkthroughs make it easy enough to overcome these stumbling blocks. The beauty and creativeness of the society you've come to explore more than makes up for the occasional hair-puller puzzle. Oh, gee, I almost forgot to mention that the maze in the game only involves four houses, or should I say the entryways to four houses. The difficulty comes in that you must enter each house twice, but only exit each house once!