Some of the most memorable games in PlayStation history have been downright strange, whether about dancing wireframe rabbits, deadly cubes, or mannequins traversing impossible architecture. These “very designer-led games,” as Mark MacDonald from Tetris Effect studio Enhance describes them, were often iconic — but they’ve also largely fallen out of favor. That’s where Humanity comes in. It’s an introspective game about a dog guiding a sea of humanity through puzzle-like mazes, and it’s as odd as it is compelling, a callback to exactly those kinds of classic PlayStation experiences.
Humanity is a collaboration between Enhance — led by the legendary Tetsuya Mizuguchi, of Rez and Lumines fame — and designer Yugo Nakamura. Ahead of its launch on May 16th, I’ve been able to play around with the PS5 version (it’s also coming to the PS4 and Steam and will have VR support for all three platforms) and it’s the kind of game I can’t seem to get out of my head. It starts out simple. You see a Shiba Inu that’s glowing a blinding white that says, “I awoke one morning to find I was a dog.” You’re then given a straightforward instruction to “guide the people to the light.”
Essentially Humanity is a new take on Lemmings, where the goal is to guide huge crowds of mindless people to an end point. Each stage is a puzzle, and the humans will do nothing but walk in a straight line until they’re told any different, even if it means falling into oblivion. It’s your job to walk around and literally bark commands at them to get them where they need to be. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about death much, as the parade of humans is never-ending. All you need to do is issue the right commands.