Amphora is an attempt at a story based physics puzzle game, and it is just that, unfortunately its also a story based physics puzzler that can be a strain to understand just what’s supposed to happen as often the goal of any given level seems obfuscated and sometimes down right indecipherable.
Amphora is the story of a young girl in the format of a shadow puppet theater, each character, object and background is styled after beautifully coloured stained glass shadow puppets. Unfortunately this aspect is something of a double edged sword as the shadow puppet theater aspect of the spectacle means the characters loose identity quickly and become just more scenery after the first few minutes fade and the puzzling really begins.
Intertwining with the pretty stained glass visuals is the sound design of amphora. A subtle and effective use of audio, each stage flows smoothly from the score of the last stage; however pacing becomes a problem as it does with the visuals as any piece played ad nauseam becomes dull quickly and without much movement or direction from the characters on screen the music fades from perception.
The player may interact with the environment of a stage using a hand made of smoke billowing forth from a jar – the titular Amphora. The hand is capable of creating strings, cutting strings and manipulating free standing objects that are not characters in a stage. Simple controls do not make for a simple experience unfortunately, as was mentioned earlier the objective of each stage are often obfuscated or entirely to obscure to accurately deduce.
In all Amphora is a flawed piece of puppet theater, but its physics, visuals and sound design almost make up for it. If it absolutely has to be pretty and if it has to be a puzzle game, pick up Amphora. That said, theres probably a better title filling this specific niche out there somewhere.