Friday, August 3, 2012

A Quick Review of Quantum Conundrum

Ha! Another game that starts with a Q!

Quantum Conundrum is an interesting puzzle platformer where you play a boy dropped into his uncle's mansion, who needs to free his uncle from some bizarre dimension he's trapped in. You know, like that one episode of Happy Days. To aid your rescue, you take control of an interdimensional-switching glove (I think that's what the acronym stood for?). Given the presence of the associated battery in an area, you can switch the dimension you're experiencing to a fluffy dimension (where you can move heavy objects), a heavy dimension (where you can make lightweight objects trigger weight-sensitive pads), a slow-motion dimension (where you can... well, it's self-explanatory), and a reverse-gravity dimension (ditto).

There are sixty-some levels, and on the whole, I'd say they're... good. Not fabulous, but good. In my mind, I want to compare the puzzles in this game to the puzzles in Q.U.B.E. or Portal. In those games, solving a hard puzzle took quite a long time, and you got an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment when you figured it out. That excitement just doesn't happen here, and I can't pinpoint a specific reason why. It might be because the puzzles were faster and easier to solve, so that "ah-ha" bliss couldn't build up enough tension before the explosive moment of realization. It might be because the puzzles usually felt too intuitive, as though there was only one way to progress from point A to point B, and all you had to do was get there (not that red herring solutions would have improved it at all). Mind you, the puzzles in here were of a good quality and never felt "old" at any point, but they just weren't that compelling.

The story's a bit disappointing, to be honest. You're working to save your uncle (voiced by John de Lancie, who was in so many things I've heard of but never seen, but he's apparently a big deal, I guess?) who chides you and gives you hints as you go along, but the payoff for your efforts really isn't worth it in the end. Still, the puzzles are good, and the game goes out of its way to bring you a fun and occasionally hilarious experience. Quantum Conundrum is worth a go, though you wouldn't miss out on too much if you waited for a sale.