There comes along a game that is great. It makes me think about my surroundings and then changes my perspective of the world around me. That game for me... was Portal. When Portal 2 came out, it was a good game, but I never got that first feeling of "this is something truly new" that Portal gave me. I had given up hope that something would make me feel the same way I did about Portal (in a lot of ways). This game came as close as I think I'll ever see again.
I've talked a lot about simplicity. Having your game speak volumes while simultaneously doing the best you can, forgoing amazing graphics for depth rather than pretty that most game devs go for these days. While it's not an anti thing, often times what you receive from the game is simply impressing visuals, which as I've said everyone seems to favor nowadays. However, game does both (kinda). The visuals are crisp and have a less than realistic feel about it, while at the same time looking like an MC Escher world. It looks noticeably cartoony which is a nice touch. I'm trying to pin down the style actually. I'm leaning towards cell shading, like my last review of the latest Naruto Shippuden game.
Looking at screenshots of this game, you wouldn't think this was on the Unreal Engine, but it sure is. When I saw the symbol, I immediately became pissed knowing I wouldn't be able to play it, and if I could the frame rate would chop like a mother. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. By the Steam page, to play this all you need is 2 gigs of RAM, a single gig of hard drive space and an NVIDIA 8000 or better. Simple terms meaning this game can be played on most computers and even a console version could work. It's nice as well, considering the gameplay thrives, as well as demands, a smooth playthrough. In lay-men's terms, this game will work on your PC, as long as you haven't upgraded since the first iPhone was announced.
There's a canvas of colors in this game, though you will be seeing white primarily. These colors are like markers to show you where you're going and where you want to go. Say I see some purple walls. I walk and come to another purple wall. The game then shows me this is the same wall, as the game is mindbending in that way. When I said it was like an MC Escher world, I meant it. This game defies the laws of physics and reason in only a way a painting could do before this game. Never does it feel like a chore though. With a simple click of the ESC button, I am back in this black box where I can choose just about any place I've been before and start back there immediately.
Again, with good games like this, it's the small things I'm worried about rather than complaining about. I haven't finished the game (though I don't know if there is an end game), but if I do finish it, I don't see much replayability. There's these little messages that are scattered about in plain sight that can give me insight like a sort of faux tutorial and they appear on the black box's wall. But if that's the extent of extended play, there's not much to look forward to.
This really is a game that isn't a 'play til dawn and keep playing' game. More of a pick up every once and a while. Not bad for me, but some may find it to be.
All in all, it's not a bad game. For twenty bucks, I am satisfied. This game runs smoothly and is intelligently played out. It's mysterious and unsettling, just how I felt about Portal. While it doesn't have the jokes that Portal does, it still is mind bending and an interesting little world, just like Portal.
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