I’ll be honest: I had no idea what to expect from Quantum Conundrum. I saw it on the show floor and thought “Oh, that looks…cute.”
Then I got some hands on time with the title in the privacy of the Square Enix hotel room for press and I thought, “Oh, this is cute…and challenging…and fun.”
Comparisons between Portal and Quantum Conundrum are going to be unavoidable. Both are first person puzzle games that involve manipulating reality around you, both come from the Kim Swift, and both feature voice over from a higher power that people will undoubtedly find humorous. That’s about where the comparisons will end. See, developer Airtight Games is trying to make the game appeal to a broader audience, promising puzzle challenges for players of all experience levels, complete with bright and fun, yes fun, visuals that are designed to draw the eye in.
Players will solve puzzles by manipulating dimensions around them. In the demo, you’re able to swap between the heavy world, the normal world, and the fluffy world. In a nutshell, to help solve puzzles you can make the weight of objects far lighter or far heavier. We did get a brief display of another dimension, slow motion, and the game promises yet another. But unlike in Portal, you’ll have to sometimes solve a quick puzzle to be able to swap dimensions. Your character carries him a glove that allows the swapping of dimensions, but occasionally you’ll need to put batteries into a switch that powers said glove. In a sense, this is solving a puzzle to be able to solve the puzzle, adding another layer of exploration and depth to the game.
The puzzles offered in the demo ranged from fairly simple to challenging and tricky. Veterans of the genre will no doubt feel quite comfortable solving some of the easier conundrums, but there’ll be times where trial and error will be necessary, especially when first dealing with a new dimension. I had watched several players progress manipulating fluffy and heavy, but when I got to slow-motion, something I hadn’t seen before, I was thrown for a bit of a loop.
Quantum Conundrum will be a downloadable game and offers 50 stages of puzzle solving, resulting in approximately 6 hours or so of gameplay, which is plenty of bang for your buck when it comes out this Summer for XBLA, PSN, and PC.