Airtight Games Puts Players in a Frustrating Conundrum

 

Quantum Conundrum available on PC, PSN & XBLA

 

I absolutely love the Portal Series. I love using my brain to figure out the puzzles and enjoyed the wit of the villains. Quantum Conundrum tries to mimic this in its set up. QC has the same first person views, rooms modeled like test chambers, and a disembodied voice guiding you through the process. But most similarities end there. Swapping sci-fi for a fun cartoon look, QC delivers a good atmosphere that is destroyed by the game play.

QC is about a young boy who has been dropped off at his uncle’s mansion. His uncle is an eccentric scientist who narrates you through his immense estate granting you use of some of his experiments. Your goal is to restore power to the house and find your uncle with the aid of a dimension altering glove. You can make things fluffy and light or heavy, slow down time or invert gravity. But certain areas only allow you to use certain dimensions. Your task is to use the various dimensions, figure out puzzles, and platform your way to the house’s generators.

Giving the game the moniker of a puzzle game is actually misleading. While there are some elements of puzzle gaming, QC is more a platform game than a puzzle one. Players use the four dimensions to finds ways to throw, jump, and dodge obstacles to complete their task. The plat forming is grueling taking a precise timing and angles. The game play mechanics are too clunky to achieve these requirements and even veteran platforms spend their time doing the same obstacle over and over and over again.

A prime example of how a puzzle quickly descending into a plat forming nightmare: furniture stacking. In one area, players must figure out how to reach a platform to get to one of the game’s collectables. The solution is actually simple but stacking the furniture and jumping up them is clunky and due to the controls aren’t very precise and you’re left rearranging and jumping for a frustrating amount of time.

The games offer some replay values with challenges and collectables, but the game play deters from retrying levels. There are plans for two more sets of downloadable content, and unless the game play is some how made more user friendly, the frustration wouldn’t be worth the money spent.

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