Investigating an abandoned spaceship and figuring out what happened to its crew is generally not the plot you'd expect from a puzzle game. Still, Filament blends puzzle-solving into the narrative beautifully. The ship, the Alabaster, that you come across seems empty, devoid of life, and initially gives no understanding what happened to the crew. From the lifeless corridors, you hear a voice guiding you through the ordeal via the ship's communication system. As it turns out, Juniper has been trapped inside the cockpit for weeks, and requires your assistance, either she doesn't picture you as the hero type, by unlocking Anchors strewn throughout the ship.
Guiding you from her confinement, you'll progress through the ship's interiors, solving puzzles and powering up the necessary ship's components. Within these Anchors, or terminals is the core gameplay loop of Filament. You maneuver tiny robots in an enclosed space, solving one to five puzzles to power up the terminal and advance through the ship's corridors. Attached by a glowing harness, you'll loop around matching colored pillars, by weaving around various objects in each room. Activate all of the pillars, and the exit opens; break the connection, and you'll need to rethink your selected path as the door slams shut.
At first, you'll encounter glowing white powered pillars only, easing you into the ultimate challenge that stands before you. It's not long before that unpowered black powers are added to the rooms. These darkened pillars deactivate the energy from the ropes, requiring you to use your mind to rethink your chosen route. Perhaps you'll need to loop around additional environmental objects to produce functional pathways. Every few anchors, new mechanics are introduced, adding a nice variety to the puzzles.
There are additional elements that need to be taken into account, such as not being able to cross over an existing leash. Go left around the pillar and across the room instead of right, and you may end up blocking your pathway to the exit. Eventually, the puzzles start to become even more complicated by adding additional colors and even multiple robots into the mix, requiring you to connect all of the like colors using matching colored tethers before advancing to the next. You may also have to go around a pillar more than once. At any point, if you feel you are going down an incorrect solution, you can retract your little robot buddy backward. This process allows you to easily and quickly make alterations using a trial and error approach to solving the puzzles.
Along the way, you'll unlock new sections to the ship, and with it, learn more about the Alabaster and the missing crew. In between the anchors, you'll listen to Juniper and pick up keycards, and personal belongings from the team left behind. Certain areas may trigger a memory from Juniper, further expanding upon the world-building in Filament. Additional puzzles in the central area of the ship provide even more details but are entirely optional.
Filament features over 300 cleverly designed puzzles, providing plenty of challenge, in an entirely relaxed environment. Some have multiple solutions, however, seemingly, the more complex the task, the more likely there is only a single workable solution. The backstory is told through the optional objects you find and by listening to Juniper.Note: Filament was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.