Portal spiritual successor Quantum Conundrum is available for download on Windows PCs today, and it’s coming to Xbox Live July 11 and PlayStation Network July 10. The affordable indie game lets you switch dimensions to solve puzzle rooms, so you can place it in the genre of immersive puzzle games along with Portal and Fez for Xbox Live.
Portal was originally conceived by game developer Kim Swift; it was based on her student project, Narbacular Drop. Half-Life 2 and Steam creators Valve Software hired Kim and some of her peers, thus Portal was born. Now she’s the head honcho at Airtight Games, and Quantum Conundrum is their first game.
Preview: What’s this game all about?
We played Quantum Conundrum at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and were impressed. You play a child wandering the rooms of his uncle’s mansion, and each of those rooms functions just like a test chamber in Portal — a 3D environment that’s one big puzzle. The game also share’s Portal‘s quirky sense of humor and sharp writing.
Instead of using portals, though, we pressed the face buttons on our Xbox 360 controller to switch between four dimensions: Fluffy, Regular, and Heavy, and Slow-Mo. Each had its own physical properties. There is also another dimension that we didn’t get to play with in our E3 demo: Reverse Gravity.
Each dimension causes the environment to look different. In Fluffy, everything is, well, literally fluffy. It also makes the objects in the world weigh substantially less. In the Heavy dimension, everything looks dark, red, and metallic. It makes objects weigh more. Slow-Mo and Reverse Gravity are self-explanatory.
In one early training room, we found ourselves in a room with two pressure buttons. Both had to be held down for a door to open to the next room. We used Fluffy to pick up a heavy safe and place it on one button, then switched to the regular dimension; the button pressed down under the weight of the safe when we did.
There was only one safe, but we also found a cardboard box. We picked it up and dropped it on the other button in the regular dimension, but it wasn’t heavy enough, so we switched to Heavy. In that dimension, both the safe and the cardboard box were heavy enough to activate the buttons, so we were able to walk right through the door to the next puzzle.
Quantum Conundrum costs $14.99 on Steam; expect it to cost the same when it hits the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The PC download link is below, and we’ll update the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network links when they become available.