Quantum Conundrum (from Air Tight Games and Square Enix) is a game that I have waited a while to play. Ever since my first article on TGH concerning its announcement a year ago, I was excited to give it a try. It has a few similarities to Valve’s Portal games. The first being that Quantum Conundrum has been designed by Kim Swift, one of the creators of the original Portal. There’s also the way that simple concepts are taken to a different level.
That would actually be my major criticism of Quantum Conundrum – that it doesn’t take its potential as far as it could have. It felt watered down in a way. The pacing was easy and relaxed, and you learned your way through situations via physics-based puzzles. The visuals, too, felt…young and the surroundings were definitely more of a backdrop to the vibrance of the puzzles, lacking real substance to really draw you into the game. But in the end Quantum Conundrum is about the puzzles, and they are the star of the show.
Things start off simply enough, but after a little while you’ll need to start using the Inter-Dimensional Shift Device in order to accomplish tasks – primarily rescuing your uncle, Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, from the dimension he’s trapped in (along with all the socks the dryer ate). You’ll need to make use of each dimensions to free him while only being able to be in one dimensions at a time, and the dimensions available for you at any given time are subject to a variety of factors. Enter the fluffy dimension, where you can bound around and lift objects in an almost gravity-defying manner. Further into the game more dimensions are made available to you – heavy, slow motion, and finally gravity reversal.
With each puzzle you know immediately what you have to do – it’s the matter of doing it, however, in which lies the challenge. You may have to shift between dimensions mid-action in order to accomplish your goal. Again, however, Quantum Conundrum feels watered down. I had expected fewer of the puzzles to rely on things like doing something at the exact second it needs to be done in order to move on.
In the end, Quantum Conundrum is a good way to pass a few hours – but the replay value of it is very low. The conclusion of the game (and avoiding spoilers here) is disappointing and overall a huge letdown. You keep waiting for something unexpected and grand to happen, but it just falls short – and I’m not sure the gravity-defying dimension can right it.
There will be two DLCs available later this summer, the first being “The Desmond Debacle” — available July 31st on Steam, August 14th on PSN, and August 15th on Xbox Live. “IKE-aramba” will be out on Steam on August 28th, September 11th on PSN, and September 13th for Xbox.
Audio/Visual - 3/5: John de Lancie lends his voice to the game, making for an interesting listening experience, but the visuals are subpar.
Gameplay – 3/5: The mechanics of the game were very simplistic.
Value – 2/5: This is almost definitely a game that you would only play through once.
Innovation – 2/5: You can definitely taste GLaDOS’ cake thanks to Portal‘s Kim Swift being involved in the creation of QC
Final Score: 3/5