One of the most original and highly rated games of the last five years is Portal. With mind boggling puzzles and quirky, interesting and unique characters, Portal left gamers wanting more and although a sequel has already been released there are few games that can touch Portal’s charm. Quantum Conundrum is brought to you by Airtight Games and directed by Kim swift, who previously worked on the first Portal title. The question that will be on fans lips however is whether Quantum Conundrum will give them the same feeling Portal did all those years ago.
Fitz Qwadwrangle is a whacky professor who has spent his entire life dabbling in strange science to invent some of the world’s strangest gadgets. His greatest invention is a glove that can manipulate time, space and mass, but unfortunately he’s been cut off from both his inventions and his spacious manor after an experiment goes horribly wrong. Luckily, his twelve year old nephew has come to visit, and after acquiring the glove sets off to save his uncle. With guidance from his Uncle the nephew, who you take control of, will learn how to operate the glove by running through a variety of ‘test chambers’ throughout Qwadwrangle’s manor.
The glove is a marvellous tool and allows the user to control the environment in a variety of ways. You’ll first learn how to make objects weigh next to nothing which will allow you to pick up things that a typical twelve year old would not be able to handle. Shortly after this you’ll be able to use the glove to make things extremely heavy and after exploring the manor for quite some time, you’ll be able to slow down time and reverse gravity.
Each of these functions will help you solve the puzzles that your uncle has left for you throughout his manor, such as reaching high places by placing light objects on a wall while a giant fan keeps them in place, using heavy objects to trigger switches and slowing time to get past some hazardous traps. You can only have one of these abilities active at once, so some timing and good button coordination is needed to get past some of the later puzzles. There are times when it will get frustrating but for the most part the challenge is a welcome addition.
The puzzles themselves can be quite tricky at times, and although Quadwrangle gives you a few tips to start you off, you’ll spend most of your time trying to work out what to do in silence. You get some assistance from a pet of Quadwrangle’s named IKE, a small alien creature, who will point you in the right direction at times but mostly he’s just there to give you a quick laugh between each room or point you to some of the collectables you will undoubtedly want to pick up.
Giving you a quick laugh is about all you can expect from Quantum Conundrum, as the comedy throughout the game feels forced and is more annoying at times than funny. Thankfully, with the puzzles being pretty varied, tough and plentiful, you will soon forgive the voice overs and concentrate on the core gameplay.
When you first enter the manor you’ll be intrigued by the décor and the crazy portraits of failed experiments and people who interest Quadwrangle, but sadly this starts to get a little repetitive as the levels go on. There isn’t much variation between the different rooms and considering you will be spending quite a lot of time in a single room, it would have been nice to see some different scenery every once and while.
Luckily the polish is superb and as previously stated; the puzzles more than carry the rest of the game along. The great thing about Quantum Conundrum is the format allows DLC to be easily created and implemented into the existing game. For those who thoroughly enjoy the way the puzzles are laid out and are willing to spend the extra points, Quantum Conundrum could turn into a very long game indeed!
If you’re one for puzzle games and enjoyed Portal, Quantum Conundrum will be right up your alley, but the complexity of the puzzles later on in the game may deter the average gamer. This said, whichever category you fit into, Quantum Conundrum will surely entertain you for its 1200 MSP price tag and if you’re stuck to find something to play, it is well worth the pickup.
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