What's better than solving puzzles? Solving puzzles with a friend of course! And puzzle games can come in all shapes and sizes. Any setting can be covered in puzzle games, and Amirelia, the upcoming co-op puzzle game about friendship from the aptly named FriendCannon, currently on Kickstarter, is no exception, with its microscopic yet beautiful and, well, friendly setting.

Amirelia is gorgeous. Its tiny, charming world is endearing with its soft colours and its gentle movement. The game is welcoming and approachable with its aesthetic, which enhances that the game itself is so focused on expressing friendship and trust in a video game. You have a special bond with your co-op partner, each of you controlling a small coloured organism as you float through the environments and solve contextual puzzles. You can control both yourself on a single keyboard if you're feeling adventurous, and while it's not as appealing as sharing a space and a screen with someone, it is a very interesting and unique experience that I do recommend trying out.

Through the use of a dynamic split screen, the game never gets in either players' way, though it certainly plays better with both organisms on the screen. I think this is probably intentional, as it encourages closeness in much the same way the shared keyboard mechanic does. It does a really good job of conveying what you're trying to do through the visual clues in game, and that's an important element for an exploratory puzzle game to have.

The primary mechanic is the bond between the two organisms, which is a rope-like connection that grows as the players progress. It can be used to manipulate objects and solve puzzles, and it metaphorically reflects the growing connection between the players themselves as they relate and rely on each other to make their way through the game. This peaceful and tender interpretation of game mechanics is very welcome to me, and I find it genuinely touching and heartwarming to see this sort of focus put into a project like this.

The controls are smooth and responsive, even if you decide to play solo. You might get a little disoriented as the organisms switch sides from one to another, but it's easy enough to adapt to. The split screen mechanic is helpful in this regard too, as the line splitting between the two halves shows you where you are in relation to your partner. If you want to find your partner, all you need to do is head towards the line. It's a clever way to relay the information in an unobtrusive manner, and also works very well to strengthen the concept that closeness to your partner is important.

I've often thought that the medium of games could be well-suited to showcasing close, intimate friendships. The way they grow, the way they develop, the way friends impact our lives is so important to art and it seems that this is more often glossed over in favour of romantic or familial relationships. Projects like Amirelia I've personally been looking forward to seeing for quite some time, and I'm really excited to see where this one heads.