Zorya: The Celestial Sisters shines light on co-op puzzling

Two godly siblings fight to reunite in this co-op only puzzle game. Shacknews takes a first look at Zorya: The Celestial Sisters.


When a fallen goddess lays stranded on our mortal plane, her road back to the skies must ultimately be paved by a trusted ally. Zorya: The Celestial Sisters is about one goddess trying to find her way home and a friend shining a light on that path. It's an adventure that can only be experienced cooperatively with a friend and one that Shacknews had a chance to try out earlier this week.

The central character in Zorya: The Celestial Sisters is the night goddess, Aysu. She's stuck on our world and looking to regain her lost powers, which will allow her to return home. Aiding her is her sister, Solveig the goddess of the sun, who can't assist directly on the ground, but can help out from the skies. Because the two characters can't interact directly, communication will be the key to success.

The best way to describe Zorya is a cooperative 3D puzzle game, one built in the style of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Using a standard third-person perspective, Aysu must wander across various environments with the idea to reach a specific endpoint in every stage. There are a few catches, though. Aysu is the night goddess, so she melts upon stepping into any sort of light. This is where Solveig's aid becomes critical. Solveig, who plays with an overhead point-of-view, can control the position of the sun and, by proxy, the position of the shadows that it creates. Aysu must follow the shadowy paths created by Solveig, waiting patiently as Solveig moves the sun back and forth in an effort to create a safe path to each stage's exit.

One thing to be aware of is that the game will quickly introduce wandering enemies, who will charge at Aysu on sight. Solveig can stun these foes by shining her light directly on them. If she can't get to them right away, Aysu can push them forward in order to stall them. This is another area where communication will prove essential, as players must inform one another about any incoming foes.

The ways in which Zorya's two players can work together without their characters working directly with each other makes for a fascinating adventure. Each stage will introduce various challenges, whether it's switches that control rising platforms or certain set pieces that can help redirect light towards enemies or cast greater shadows for Aysu to walk through.

It's possible to play co-op locally, but split screen might not be ideal, given that both players will probably need as much screen space as they can get. Fortunately, not only is online play available, but it will work cross-platform. Zorya is set to release on both PC and Switch and both versions will be able to play with one another. Friends Passes will also be made available to pass along to anybody who wants to play along without the need to purchase a second copy of the game.

Zorya: The Celestial Sisters looks to scratch a unique itch, one that requires two sets of hands. Those looking for a unique puzzle game to challenge their mental acumen should find what they're looking for here. Look for Zorya: The Celestial Sisters to release on PC (via both Steam and the Epic Games Store) on Tuesday, February 8 for $24.99 USD, with a Stellar Edition featuring the game, soundtrack, and art book available for $5 more. The Nintendo Switch version of the game is coming soon. (Update: The Switch version of the game is also coming on February 8.)

This preview is based on a Steam digital code provided by the publisher.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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