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Our initial impression of Quantum Conundrum was that the game was going to be some sort of Portal-like game. Truthfully, it is anything but that, as puzzles are solved with platforming skills and manipulation of 4 different types of dimensions. These 4 dimensions are Fluffy, Heavy, Slow and Reverse but rarely will you find that using 1 dimension will allow you to achieve your goal. Getting used to quickly switching dimensions will allow you to overcome most trials but things will oftentimes call for a bit of ingenuity as well as trial and error. The best thing about the puzzles in Quantum Conundrum are that there is no absolute single way to complete them. However, you will find that getting creative will allow you to get your hands on one of two different types of collectibles in the game. So taking to road less traveled can sometimes have it’s benefits.
The game’s plot is absolutely a light-hearted one. You play the role of the 12 year old silent protagonist and nephew of Professor Quadwrangle and after an experiment goes wrong, it becomes your responsibility to set things back on the right path. While Quadwrangle can be a bit condescending (I am pretty sure the kid has broken a few things in the past) he also does come off as a loving relative, congratulating you when overcoming difficult obstacles. This element is quite interesting, as I am used to being told I am fat and no one loves me while solving crazy puzzles. While the story itself isn’t a major burden on the game, certain visual elements in the game explain a bit about the professor as well. Without spoiling much, the man is a big fan of puns.
While superbly fun, I had my issues with Quantum Conundrum as well. As a physics game, sometimes things didn’t work as efficiently as they should have. Objects may move or shift on their own which is problematic when you are platforming and every once in awhile something strange will happen. Early in the game, I had to throw a dodecahedron into a container of sorts, somehow I managed to get it wedged in between the lid of the device and the opening itself. This isn’t gamebreaking since there is a device that allows you to respawn important items, however it can be a little frustrating. Puzzles aren’t going to be overly difficult, but to complete most without dying can be an absolute challenge when game physics want to work against you. Thankfully, death screens are some of the funniest that you will encounter in almost any game. Yes, laughs will be had.
The game’s controls are absolutely workable but not perfect, causing some platforming sections to be overly nerve-wracking. I found it to be slightly easier to bind the 4 dimension buttons to my mouse, so switching while moving wasn’t really an issue. My computer was powerful enough to handle the game, which really didn’t offer any graphical settings and could be problematic for people using older machines but if that is the case, the console versions should be able to fill that gap. As it is a puzzle platformer, the game is very precise on positioning and timing. If you aren’t used to keyboard and mouse going into it, I do absolutely recommend making use of a gamepad.
There is enough within the game to keep you occupied with the different collectible items and also goals to be met in each level. The game will count things like the time you have taken to solve the puzzle or the amount of shifts you have used to beat an objective. I met a handful of these but had more fun leisurely exploring the physics engine and seeing what I could and couldn’t do as well. By finding blueprints around the mansion, you can also unlock challenge levels which will make use of a certain dimension as well. They can be tricky but don’t offer much outside of a solid pat on the back for completing them.
The truth is, Quantum Conundrum will make you feel like an idiot when trying to solve puzzles and them make you feel like an even bigger idiot when you see how easy the solution really was. As far as puzzle games go, it is up there with games like Portal, Braid and Limbo but doesn’t really do anything to go above and beyond. I like to think that based on the ending of the game, that this will be the first entry to an awesome series that has the potential to grow with every entry.
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- Absolutely worth the $15 price tag
- Entertaining, brain teasing puzzles
- John de Lancie (Q for Star Trek fans) makes the game so much more fun
- Very rewarding gameplay
- The game environment gets old after a bit
- Open, explorable areas… With no reward for getting to them.
- Physics get a bit wacky on occasion
- Ending is very abrupt