The Humans (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

When I was a pre-teen/early teen in the late 80’s and early 90’s, one of my favorite games was Lemmings.  I played the heck out of this series, and I’m sure most gamers still know about it since there were tons of ports and sequels.  In these games, you guided a bunch of mindless critters to an exit by giving them tools and skills so they wouldn’t walk blindly off of cliffs and into danger.  Back when this game was on store shelves in places like Babbage’s (remember those), another game that was next to it was usually The Humans.  It featured cartoony art of cavemen so it always caught my eye, but I never played it back then even though it looked like another Lemmings style game to me.  So that’s why I’m glad I got to review this collection now.  Turns out the game is a bit more like The Lost Vikings than Lemmings (games with prehistoric themes sure were popular back then, what with titles like Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninjas and this).  Anyway, The Humans is a puzzle platformer where you guide and switch between cavemen as you use tools and make human ladders to achieve goals.  It’s available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch and PS4 here.

There are two versions of The Humans on this collection.  A 16-bit version and a portable version.  I looked it up, and the 16-bit version is the Super Nintendo port.  It would’ve been cool if they included the SEGA Genesis and Amiga PC ports as well.  The portable version is the black and white Game Boy one.  The level layouts are slightly different in each one, but they are more or less the same game.  To play, you’ll guide each human directly and switch between them.  Your goal is different in each level, but usually you have to get from point A to point B.  You can do things like press up and switch cavemen to climb up them and make a human ladder to reach higher platforms.  Or you can pick up and use tools like spears, fire, and even magic from a Witch Doctor.

I just had one major problem with this collection.  There are no in-game instructions.  That would be fine if the games were simple and intuitive enough to figure out on your own, but this one is not.  It was originally released in a world where games came with detailed printed instruction booklets.  But this collection has no such thing.  They didn’t bother to reprint digitally the original manual like some game ports do, which would’ve been helpful.  I tried looking in all the options screens and the closest thing I could find is the button mapping option, which just tells you the buttons and “Action 1, Action 2, Action 3, etc.”  Totally useless.  So I couldn’t get very far since I couldn’t figure out how to use spears as pole vaults to jump over pits, and the Game Boy version is even worse at that.  I even tried watching videos and looking at the instructions online and it still didn’t help me.  I’m sure there’s still a good game in here somewhere, but unless you’re adept at figuring out how to play games on your own (I guess I’m not), then best of luck trying to play this.

Kid Factor:

The Humans is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Blood.  When your cavemen get hit by a spear, dinosaur, or long fall, they just disappear in a puff of smoke and another human takes their place.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find this too difficult.

One Response to “The Humans (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)”

  1. Could be neat. I might check it out.

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