Humanity Review (PS5):

Humanity Review (PS5): Follow the Shiba

Dogs are often said to be man’s best friend, but the one in tha and Enhance’s Humanity is more than that. This bizarre puzzler stars a lone and ethereal Shiba Inu as they guide humanity to the light, serving as a godlike figure who also undoubtedly enjoys the occasional belly rub. It’s a premise that seems like it would almost solely rely on its quirkiness to the detriment of its gameplay, but while its goofy charm is endearing, it’s a mostly engaging puzzle game full of brain-bending yet easy-to-grasp mechanics. 

Humanity begins slowly by only letting players reroute an endless stream of humans to their goal: a beacon that shines up to the heavens. This simple act of placing commands on a grid is the bedrock of Humanity and gets players to think about how to effectively get these mindless lemmings to their glowing portal to the sky. 

Humanity Review (PS5):

Directing them away from hazards and figuring out the correct angles is where it gets more complicated, and, like any great puzzle game, Humanity slowly layers on more and more systems. Players have to start placing jumps, long jumps, high jumps, guns, laser swords, and more along the grid in inventive ways that keep the humans in one piece. Many of these levels unfold slowly in multiple stages, and that bite-sized pacing ensures that it rarely is overwhelming. 

Planning it out in real-time makes for a gratifying amount of tactical planning in the moment, but being able to completely pause the action means it also lets players pause and carefully consider their next action. Some stages even make players chalk out all of their moves in one go, making for tough yet fulfilling Rube Goldberg-esque tests that, after a meticulous setup, run flawlessly like they are on autopilot. They’re perfect for changing up the rhythm of the typical levels that call for on-the-spot problem solving.

Humanity Review (PS5):

Each world tends to focus on one new mechanic while usually building on some or most of what came before. It’s a focused system that allows for a smooth ramp of complexity and while it is mostly linear, Humanity offers a welcome amount of freedom. 

Levels can be finished merely by funneling humans to the goal, but there are also special collectible-like beings called Goldy that look like if an Oscar became an enemy in Superhot. These shiny behemoths usually take more planning and wits to grab and can be easily lost or destroyed with one wrong move. The final showdown in every world requires a certain amount of them, but it’s up to players to pick what levels they grab them in.

This approach keeps the game moving at an even pace, but the requirements are tuned so that players have to engage with a couple of the optional stages and can’t just steamroll the critical levels. It’s a careful balance that doesn’t drag the campaign out by mandating full completion or let players disengage from all of the well-made side content.

Humanity Review (PS5):

Humanity does consistently offer up new types of puzzles, but a few of its later mechanics aren’t tuned as tightly. Going up against the Others, the similarly antagonistic humans perverted by some other force, is a fantastic idea that leads to some creative levels where the obstacles aren’t pits, but gray husks with off-brand lightsabers. Different hazards require a different kind of thinking — a great idea for a puzzle game — but dealing with Others can be confusing. Their vision cones and numbers aren’t always defined well and working with those loosely defined rules can lead to frustrating puzzles full of cheap deaths. 

It also highlights the game’s penchant for micromanaging in the final chapters, as players have to tediously manage the hordes of humans sometimes down to the singular level. These thoughtless sheep can wander off the path to their death or attract an enemy horde, both of which can force a restart and are painfully highlighted in its awful stealth level. Managing larger crowds can also be unruly since they create a long tail behind the player’s avatar that becomes hard to maneuver out of danger. 

Humanity’s puzzles are generally designed well, and there are some smart design choices that cut down on some of its weaker elements. It’s always possible to restart without removing the current directives on the grid and use the fast-forward function to speed through parts. But its fondness for variety points out how its systems can sometimes be stretched a little too far.

Humanity Review (PS5):

These systems can hold up against scrutiny based purely on how rewarding the puzzles are, but Humanity excels through its presentation, too. The simplistic visuals and clean menus reinforce the sophisticated technological hellscape that’s heavily implied by its oblique story, which dabbles in religious undertones to great effect. Its weird mix of tech and religion brings up unexpected questions that, while not a central point of the experience, are worth examining and stitch everything together, which is far more than most puzzle games can claim. Everything is brought together by its sublime soundtrack that mixes light dance music that’s lively enough to amp up the tempo of solving puzzles without being overbearing.

Humanity’s presentation only augments the satisfying puzzle mechanics at its core. Leading around an array of humans through a series of shrewdly planned commands is open enough to lead to many different types of brain-teasers that consistently challenge players. A handful of these ways can be a little frustrating, especially near the end, but they’re outnumbered by the copious amount of stages that push players to think creatively as the most important Shiba Inu to ever live.

  • Thoughtful puzzle design that consistently builds upon itself
  • Incredible soundtrack with thumping beats
  • Bizarre story
  • Later mechanics aren't as smoothly integrated


Disclosure: The publisher provided a PlayStation 5 copy for our Humanity review. Reviewed on version 1.002.000.