Saturday, June 23, 2012

Second Opinion - Quantum Conundrum

I am a big player of puzzle games, among my favorites being the Bejeweled, Tetris, and Portal franchises, so naturally I became interested when Quantum Conundrum was first announced. It seemed somewhat similar to Portal with different gameplay, though this can be attributed to its creator, Kim Swift, having previously been involved with Portal 2. (Comparing the two games is inevitable due to this similarity in presentation.) In any case, I found the idea of switching between different dimensions to solve puzzles in a first-person view to be interesting. Having played the game through a Steam pre-order, I felt somewhat satisfied with the finished product, though it falls short in some areas.

The idea that you are a 12-year-old boy rescuing your uncle, Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, from a pocket dimension by dimension hopping with a special device sounds rather interesting. Unfortunately, for the length of time that the game lasts, there really isn't much in terms of exposition. Aside from more information regarding Quadwrangle's current predicament, the only things we really learn about are your relatives and a strange creature named Ike. Ike is downright adorable and some of the dialogue is funny, but the narrative didn't do enough for me. By comparison, the script for Portal 2 had a bit more wit to the dialogue and the backstory of Aperture Laboratories was made very deep and interesting. However, this is probably due to Quantum Conundrum having a much lighter atmosphere than Valve's Portal games.

The dimension-based gameplay is also rather interesting, as you can travel between 4 different dimensions on top of the normal one to help solve environmental puzzles. In turn it becomes more complex than that of the Portal series, since rather than trying to figure out portal placement, you have to think about how to best utilize a Fluffy (10 times lighter), Heavy (10 times heavier), Slow-Mo, and anti-grav dimension, especially when your choices are limited. The puzzles you are presented with can also get fairly elaborate, sometimes to the point of becoming infuriating, though sadly the difficulty sort of tapers off when it gets closer to the end. However, like any good puzzle game, it's all about trial and error in the end.

Though this game has its share of flaws, one thing I would praise is the voice acting, even though only one character speaks. John de Lancie does a good job as the voice of Professor Quadwrangle, giving him a more inviting voice even at times when he insults the player character. While he may not be as funny or interesting as GLaDOS, he still manages to display somewhat of a good-natured yet harsh personality. I also liked the sounds that Ike makes, in that they make the creature even more adorable, though hearing these noises in the Slow-Mo dimension is either creepy or funny depending on your perspective. Despite the fact that he looks cute, the lacking narrative mentioned earlier makes it seem like that is Ike's only purpose, aside from occasionally handing you a battery that allows access to a new dimension.

Quantum Conundrum is a puzzle game with an intriguing concept, but at times it comes up short. Despite this, I would still recommend it to anyone searching for a good puzzle game, especially if you are already familiar with the two Portal games. While it may not be as strong as those games, the good qualities of this game still outweigh the bad, making it one that is definitely worth a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment