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.
The thrill of a good puzzle is something of a mystery. Many gamers
enjoy brainteasers, but the act of solving one is rarely enjoyable. A
good puzzle makes us stretch the analytical parts of our brain in ways
that sometimes feel like work. An unsolved puzzle makes us feel stupid
and incapable. Being stuck without a solution is uncomfortable, and yet
after we reach that “Eureka!” moment, all is forgiven. All those
uncomfortable moments spent pulling our hair and biting our nails were
worth it, because that brief second of insight has proven how clever we
are. Quantum Conundrum is a game filled with these seconds. It gives
your brain a workout, but you’ll love it.
It’s hard to talk about
Quantum Conundrum without drawing comparisons to Portal. Not only is the
game’s creative director, Kim Swift, one of the DigiPen students Valve
originally hired to create the Portal series, but the game has you
wandering through a series of rooms and solving physics-breaking puzzles
while a disgruntled, disembodied voice walks you through the
Fortunately, Quantum Conundrum has enough going for it
that it stands on its own. The main protagonist is a 12-year-old boy
who comes to visit his uncle, the brusque Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, at
his mansion laboratory. A failed scientific experiment has trapped the
professor into a pocket dimension. Using the professor’s latest
invention, the Interdimensional Shift Device (IDS), you work your way
through his twisted mansion, solving puzzles by flipping through a
series of oddball dimensions, and eventually returning the professor to
reality. The professor talks you through the history of his manor with
some occasionally amusing dialogue, but the narrative isn’t this game’s
Quantum Conundrum’s main attraction is its
dimension-jumping puzzles. Using the IDS device, you can shuffle through
four different dimensions, each with its own unique properties. For
example, the fluffy dimension turns everything softer than a roll of
Charmin, while the heavy dimension makes everything 10 times denser and
heavier. The puzzles make creative use of these dimensions. In one room
you might have to reach a high ledge. If you switch over to the fluffy
dimension you can drag large pieces of furniture over an industrial
floor fan and hitch a ride as it floats towards the ceiling like a
feather. I loved discovering how these dimensions worked in conjunction
with one another. To get across large gaps, for example, you can switch
over to the fluffy dimension, pick up a heavy object and throw it, then
switch over to a dimension where everything moves at a snail’s pace and
use the suspended object as a floating platform. These dimensions work
together in a number of ways, but figuring out how they play off each
other is half the fun of solving Quantum Conundrum’s brainteasers.
puzzle fans will be happy with some of the late-game challenges, which
require thinking outside the box. I just wish the game relied more on
creative thinking and logical problem-solving, because many puzzles
involve a significant amount of manual dexterity, requiring you to time
your throws or land on a specific platform. I enjoy platform jumping,
but the platforming isn’t as polished as the dimension-altering
mechanics. A number of times I missed a jump because the controls didn’t
feel tight enough to facilitate this kind of gameplay.
physics-warping mechanics, thoughtful brainteasers, and playful
atmosphere, Quantum Conundrum should appeal to the legions of Portal
fanatics. Some may complain that it’s not as funny or as clever as
Valve’s hit series, but Quantum Conundrum is a unique experience that
deserves attention nonetheless.
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.