Stack them up
At GDC 2014, I got a quick peek at Press Play's next game tentatively titled Project Totem. The next game from the developers behind Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Project Totem is an interesting puzzle-platformer that tasks you with building a totem pole by completing level-based challenges. Each stage puts you in control of two characters simultaneously, as you try to guide them past obstacles like pitfalls, force fields, and anti-gravity traps. Sounds simple right? Well, keeping an eye on two characters at once is more of a brain twist than you might think.
Early levels start with you jumping over pits and avoiding simple hazards as you control two characters running two different paths on the top and bottom of the screen. Each level changes the way you play. Sometimes your characters are separate, sometimes they join together in a stack, and sometimes they're falling side by side down a hazard-filled pit. Then the game introduces a swap mechanic, allowing you to instantly swap the two totem characters (one's green, the other's purple) to pass through color-coordinated barriers. Later stages add a gravity changing mechanic that lets the characters walk on ceilings and hover in mid air, meaning the obstacles get even more challenging (and rewarding when you succeed).
Project Totem also has a couch co-op mode that has each player controlling two totem characters apiece. The extra characters on screen make the puzzles all the more challenging. You'll need to work with your partner to stack your totems to avoid color hazards, time jumps to cooperatively clear pits, and catch your partner's totems to carry them to safety. It's all still very early: most of the levels didn't even have art assets yet. But the core concept, and intricate level design is a blast to play.
Check out the following slides for more information and images
Controlling two totems at once is confusing, but you eventually get the hang of it.
Only totems matching the barrier's colors can pass through.
The swap mechanic will get you through these barriers.
Co-op brings a new level of complexity to the puzzles.
Some of the greatest feats of teamwork are in stacking your totems in the right color sequence.