There's almost nothing to attract players to this game.
It's been nearly nine years since Portal was released, and the clever puzzle game still has yet to be eclipsed, or even equaled, by any of its copycats. Sure, there have been plenty of similar puzzle games that have captured the feel of either the multi-leveled story or the innovative puzzles, but none have done both. Now a new game called Attractio has been released that incorporates gravity-based puzzles with a story that revolves around evil corporations with ulterior motives (sound familiar?). Too bad the puzzles are the only thing that could attract anyone to this cheap knockoff.
Players, of which there will be few, are forced to endure a terrible, cheesy, conspiracy-laden story about a giant corporation called White Ark that hosts a deadly reality show in the year 3275. In this show, contestants must navigate through a wide variety of gravity-based puzzles to win their choice of prizes that range from freedom to advanced technology to cash money. Eventually, it becomes apparent that all isn't what it seems as a rebel group named Ogun Hand warns players of the true intentions of White Ark, yadda, yadda, yadda. If this recycled storyline isn't enough to dissuade players from continuing, the unbelievably obnoxious host sure is. He is so overly-enthusiastic and in-your-face loud that I wouldn't hesitate to punch him in the face if he was in the same room.
Every single thing about this game comes off as either slightly or completely awkward. Take the name, for starters. Instead of pronouncing Attractio the way it looks, it's pronounced: attrac-sheeooh. Like pistachio. This may seem like nitpicking, but it's the tip of a development iceberg that tells me the creators aren't very familiar with making games. If I don't like saying the name of a game, will I really enjoy playing it?
So the story is a recycled mess and the name is awkward to pronounce—perhaps the visuals can save this game. Nope. Not a chance! Attractio has some of the most boring, bland, outdated visuals I've seen in years. They remind me of looking through a pair of prescription glasses when I have 20/20 vision. Maybe that's why the lighting effects are so sparse, because otherwise players would get a good look at the visuals. I don't even like the generic design of the puzzle rooms or the limited color scheme. If this is what reality looks like in the year 3275, then I'm quite thankful for my mortality.
Fortunately, the puzzles are challenging and require actual thought as well as gravity manipulation to solve. They include moving boxes around and avoiding deadly traps like lava pits and long falls. Players take on the role of three different people as they play, and each one can manipulate gravity in their own way. For instance, Keir has a gravity gun that lets him alter the gravity of objects, Mia sports gravity boots that let her walk on the ceiling, and Dalek uses environmental objects to change the, err, gravity of his situation.
This variety keeps consecutive puzzle rooms fresh and interesting so players aren't frustrated with their punishing difficulty. Early puzzles are pretty easy to solve, but others will surely force players to quit and come back over and over. Later puzzles will make players wonder if they're supposed to “break” the game by using what seem like exploits to solve them.
With high-quality puzzle games like The Talos Principle available, I don't understand why anybody would pay to play Attractio. Its numerous flaws and bad design decisions aren't something that can be patched at a later date. In fact, the only thing that could save this game is a complete overhaul that replaces everything but the puzzles.