Quantum Conundrum – Review
Quantum Conundrum is the quirky cousin to Portal that any gamer can enjoy. It has lighter, more kid-friendly comedy. The constant communications from your uncle is a fun alternative to the dry wit of GLADOS. Additionally, the interdimensional device (or IDS Glove) is more versatile than the portal gun, allowing the player to manipulate multiple dimensions. But more on that later. First, some details about the game.
Quantum Conundrum is a first-person game in which you take the role of a 10 year old boy who happens to be the nephew of the brilliantly-mad scientist, Professor Fitz Quadwrangle. Naturally, you are visiting your uncle at Quadwrangle Manor when all manner of hell breaks lose. Professor Quadwrangle is in need of rescue, and with the use of the IDS Glove, it’s up to you to save him. Throughout your journey to aid him, your uncle provides guidance and commentary about your various situations in much the same way Atlas does in Bioshock except much less dark, obviously. Actually, he and the protagonist’s uncle perform very similar roles when you think about it.
There are various dimensions through which the player will manipulate objects in order to solve the various puzzles and traverse the house. The dimensions are the Fluffy Dimension, where everything is feather light, the Heavy Dimension, where everything weighs as if it’s on Jupiter, the Slow-Mo Dimension, where everything is in bullet-time, and Reverse Gravity Dimension, where everything will float up unless it’s bolted down. Regardless of the alternate dimension you are utilizing, you remain normal. Ergo, in the heavy dimension, you don’t become heavier, nor fluffier in the fluffy dimension. Also, only one dimension can be utilized at a time, making the later puzzles much more difficult.
As the game goes on, you are able to affect different dimensions depending on which batteries you find. For instance, there are times when you can only affect the Fluffy Dimension and the Heavy Dimension such that you’ll turn a safe fluffy to move it, then change to Heavy Dimension to make the safe heavy so it doesn’t get destroyed by the various lasers that seem to be just lying about the mansion. Later on, you’ll utilize the reverse gravity to turn a safe into an elevator, riding it up to the next platform. While this can be loads of fun, it can also be tear-your-hair-out frustrating as you try and figure out the exact combinations to get past an obstacle. The dimensions you alter are always the ones needed in order to solve the puzzles, most of which involve plat forming.
The puzzles are the game’s bread and butter, just like in Portal. I make many references to Portal, but make no mistake: Quantum Conundrum is its own distinct, unique game. It just happens to have similar characteristics. The puzzles are different though. Whereas Portal required a little platforming to solve its puzzles, Quantum Conundrum requires it at nearly every turn. Whether you’re stacking safes to reach a higher elevation, or riding boxes through the air and jumping from box to box in slow-mo, you’re always going from one platform to the next. Because of this, the game can become a little repetitive, but only just a little bit. What saves it is the variety of ways the player must manipulate the dimensions in order to do the platforming. For instance, lasers will destroy cardboard boxes and anything in the fluffy dimension, but nothing in the heavy dimension. Because you can only affect one dimension at a time, this provides for increasingly difficult challenges and true feelings of accomplishment at overcoming such obstacles. It can get very difficult and occasionally frustrating, but the fun far outweighs the frustration. It’s a truly entertaining experience, regardless of your age.
It isn’t without faults, though, and a major one lies within the PC version. There is a ridiculous lack of options for video. Not everyone has a super-nice computer, and I personally prefer a higher framerate than what I was clocking. While this isn’t a deal breaker for me, it certainly could be for some. On a lesser computer, I very well could have found myself missing critical jumps due to a lag in framerate, and nothing is more annoying to a PC gamer than missed jumps due to lag. Don’t forget, this is also a platforming game. The timing of jumps is critical from beginning to end.
Quantum Conundrum is a game for all ages. It is fun, witty, and absolutely ridiculous at times. The exaggerated style and innovative IDS Glove provide for a truly unique experience the likes of which haven’t been seen since Portal. While it may not be as polished as Valve’s heavy hitter, it is the most fun I’ve had playing a game in a while, and that’s really what matters most. And what tops this all off is the amazing $15 price tag. At such a low price-point, there’s no reason not to buy into this bargain.
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