The next project from Kim Swift (who left Valve after working on Portal to lead her own team at Airtight Games) is an adorable puzzle-platformer that lets you play with the laws of physics  to solve complex puzzles.

Quantum Conundrum has echoes of Portal in its room-by-room puzzle design, but its mechanics are strikingly different. Using a dimension-shifting glove, you can alter the properties of everything around you. At PAX, Swift showed off two dimensions with fascinating effects: the self-explanatory slow motion dimension, and the unusual fluffy dimension.

One simple puzzle had Swift trying to get through a door locked by an industrial-strength switch. A nearby safe could activate the switch, but it's far too heavy to carry. Flipping over to the fluffy dimension makes the safe cuter and much pinker, but also makes it light enough to throw across the room. Swift goes fluffy, grabs the safe, puts it on the switch, de-fluffs back into the regular dimension, and the safe's natural weight activates the switch to allow her through the door.

Another puzzle involved an activator beam controlling a laser gate which lets the player through but vaporizes any items. Swift had to bring a safe through the gate to access the platform leading out of the room. This one is a multi-step process:

  1. Enter fluffy dimension
  2. Throw safe on trajectory through gate
  3. As safe is in air, flip to slow motion dimension
  4. Run to other room, place box in path of activator beam
  5. Enter normal dimension
  6. After safe lands on other side of gate, go fluffy and place it beneath platform
  7. Re-enter normal dimension so safe doesn't slide out from under you, jump up to goal

Gamespot has an exclusive first look video narrated by Swift that shows off Quantum Conundrum's mechanics. I highly suggest you check it out.

Quantum Conundrum is scheduled to come out on Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network in early 2012.