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PAX Impressions: Quantum Conundrum

Posted on Thursday, September 1 @ 19:42:51 Eastern by

Sure, you could just write Quantum Conundrum off as an off-shoot of Portal. No one will blame you. You will, however, come across as a huge dumb ass. Portal is awesome, and more of it is always welcome. With designer Kim Swift, creative mind behind Portal, and puzzle solving in the first-person perspective, it's easy to draw comparisons, but the significant differences out number those similarities.

In Quantum Conundrum, events lead to you being left with your relative, Professor Quandrangle. When you and the Professor are separated in his giant mansion, you're left to use five different dimensions to find your way back to him. Puzzles will leave you with specific dimensions to use separately and together to proceed from one room to the next.

In one level, you'll encounter a safe and a switch that controls a platform needed to reach the other side of a chasm. Unfortunately, the safe is too heavy to lift, unless you switch to the "fluffy" dimension. Said Kim Swift:

I like to make the games that I would want to play, and I want to make people feel smart or give them the ability to do stuff not possible in reality. And I just think gamers enjoy "fluffy" things.

I think Kim, who walked us through the Quantum Conundrum demo at PAX, would agree that very little fluffy made it into Valve's Portal. As humorous and witty as the original first-person-puzzler was, it was extremely dark. QC couldn't be further from that. In between demonstrations of the slow-mo dimension and the reverse gravity dimension, Swift showed off some artwork in Quandragle's mansion.

Portraits of the Professor and his cat, Widget, decorated the walls in between levels and were affected by the dimension shifting in the game. The fluffy dimension featured the Professor in a bunny suit. Slow-Mo featured the professor and Widget staring impatiently at their wrist watches. Finally, reverse gravity dimension flung the figures out the paintings' frames.

With only four of five dimensions revealed at this point, and a 8 hour campaign of light-hearted puzzling, Quantum Conundrum seems to bring forward more of Swift's personality, while still retaining the excellent puzzle gameplay present in Portal.

Airtight Games began with Dark Void... and we all know how that turned out, right? As disappointing as the alternate-universe, historical dogfighting game was, the studio is back, partnering with Square Enix to develop a more focused and tightly designed game for downloadable platforms, including XBLA, PSN, and Steam. Despite being revealed at PAX Prime this year, Airtight is looking to release the title shortly, with a targeted window of early 2012.
Related Games:   Quantum Conundrum
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