The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
has been racking up awards at indie game conferences since 2009, and stumbling
my way through the game made it easy to see why. This indie puzzler establishes
creator Alexander Bruce as the M.C. Escher of game development, providing
players with a sprawling and satisfying network of challenges that require
novel thinking to overcome.
Portal, Antichamber's puzzles exist in an environment where the laws of nature
don't apply, allowing players to think in ways that reality doesn't require.
Whereas Portal "only" bent the rules of space, Antichamber throws everything
you know out the window, stripping you of your preconceptions before building you
back up with a new set of skills and rules to play by.
early puzzle teaches me the importance of not taking anything for granted. After
walking down an L-shaped corridor, my path diverges into two choices: a blue
staircase that leads upwards and a red staircase that leads downwards. I choose
the blue stairs, which lead me up to another L-shaped hallway. When I turn the
corner, I'm confronted by the same two staircases. I spend the next few minutes
alternating between the two paths, but no matter which one I choose, it leads
me back to the same stairways. Confused, I begin walking towards them again,
then pause in a moment of clarity. I turn and walk back the way I came, peering
around the corner. Lo and behold, it now leads to a new area.
time you solve a puzzle in Antichamber, you come across a plaque with a saying
that sums up the lesson you've just learned, many of which have real-world
value as well. These lessons are the core of Antichamber, and it teaches you
everything you need to know with virtually no on-screen instructions. Instead,
you learn from your failures, and every time you expose a trick the world has
played on you, your knowledge base grows a little.
no hint system in Antichamber, so if you get stuck on a puzzle, you have two choices:
bang your head against the wall until you figure it, out or tackle one of the
other branching paths that make up the ambiguous laboratory/compound you're
trapped in. Thankfully, you can exit to the map room at any time (once you
figure it out, anyway) and fast travel to the puzzles you've discovered. You do
this a lot. Sometimes your progress is hindered by a tool you've yet to
acquire. Sometimes you botch a puzzle and need to reset it. Sometimes a path
simply leads to a dead end. Despite these pitfalls and abstract puzzles, I rarely
ever felt stuck or frustrated by a lack of progress – a testament to Antichamber's
pacing and design.
gameplay evolves when you discover a gun that allows you to collect and place
cubes in the world, providing you with the literal building blocks you need to
overcome challenges. You upgrade the gun several times, building on your
abilities and the complexity of the puzzles you're confronted with. The
upgrades also make redoing many of the earlier puzzles a breeze, easing the
pain of backtracking through environments while searching for missed secrets
and abandoned puzzles.
Below: Watch our Test Chamber video.
wasn't until the very end that tedium began to set in, as I tried to hunt down the
last few paths I had missed. That boredom was erased as soon as I entered the multi-roomed
gauntlet of puzzles standing between me and Antichamber's enigmatic ending, a
final test of the lessons I had learned. Regardless of the lack of story, overcoming
those challenges filled me with a greater sense of achievement than the
countless "save the world" missions I'm used to taking on in video games.
Gamers would be hard pressed to find a more unique, engaging puzzle game.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.