Sheldon Cooper would have lepton the chance to play this game!
The idea of Schrödinger's Cat is introduced to most people in high-school science class, but it's rarely understood and usually forgotten. However, the complicated theory has been resurrected in the public eye thanks to numerous references in "The Big Bang Theory" TV show. Now it's the basis for a quirky, or shall I say quarky, video game titled Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark.
When the game begins, players assume the role of Schrödinger's cat just as the funky feline arrives at the infamous Particle Zoo. As luck would have it, the zoo is in turmoil and numerous subatomic exhibits are on the loose! Now the only way to restore order is to return a wide array of bosons, leptons, and gluons back to their enclosures. Accomplishing this arduous task requires a combination of clever puzzle-solving, grabbing quark pick-ups and utilizing platforming skills on randomly-generated levels.
By combining the clever storyline with a multitude of humorous scientific jokes and puns, it almost seems like the developers specifically tailored this game for science geeks like Sheldon Cooper. Add in the unusual platform-style gameplay that uses quark combinations in order to achieve specific actions, and the result will be a hit at any science convention.
Each shoulder button is mapped with a specific colored action, called a quark, that helps Schrödinger's cat navigate the subatomic world. One quark moves Schrödinger's cat upward, one is used for destruction, one provides protection, and one creates platforms to walk on. Combining these quarks in different ways creates useful results that are required to advance. For example, combining three yellow quarks creates a handy helicopter, three red quarks makes a floating platform, and mixing two yellow and one purple quark creates a missile that breaks through barriers.
Most of the enjoyment found in this game comes from experimenting with different quark combinations, but it's also fun to explore the environments. Exploring is made even better by the colorful palette and unlimited variety created through randomly-generated levels. Perhaps this is an homage to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of quantum particles, which directly ties back into both Schrödinger's theory and this game. Yes, children, learning can be fun!
All is not perfect in this virtual subatomic world, though, as some of the randomly-generated levels are entirely too simplistic while others go on far too long. Another problem occasionally occurs when players use quark combinations, such as the helicopter, to reach certain areas and then miss a jump. Since quark pick-ups don't respawn, players are forced to return to a previous checkpoint and try again. Fortunately, the checkpoints are not very far apart, so players won't have to backtrack very far. I also wish there was some sort of progression to quarks that goes beyond simply discovering combinations and then using them over and over.
Schrodinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Last Quark uses clever game mechanics and thought-provoking humor to create a fun platformer with an unusual twist. Randomly-generated levels make the experience different for every player, which is both good and bad. Hopefully the sequel will offer a way to reset levels so everyone will enjoy their foray into this scientific adventure.