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Closure (PC) artwork

Closure (PC) review


"Shine on!"


Closure (PC) image

It's easy to sleep on Closure, especially when its screenshots give you glimpses of a plain, fragmented, black and white world. Each stage consists only of pieces of environment, rather than full blown areas. You don't see whole rooms, corridors or collections of platforms, but whatever bits are illuminated by light. Using a variety of sources, you reveal your surroundings and create platforms by shining light on them. While playing, this effect is fantastic, intriguing and a little haunting. In screenshots, however, the game appears incomplete or overly minimalist because you only see tiny chunks of a level and miles of open, empty space.

For all intents and purposes, anything not lit doesn't exist. If you try to leap onto a platform shrouded in darkness, you'll plummet to your death and start your current stage over again. Same goes for ladders or other devices in your vicinity. The only way to remedy these issues is to grab a light crystal or adjust lamps so that light shines on set pieces you need to use. As long as you can make a clear path to the door that serves as the stage's goal, you're home free.

I was reluctant to play this puzzle/platformer at first. I thought it might be too artsy or gimmicky to hold my attention past an hour. I also worried it would be too story-heavy and not interactive enough. To a degree, I was correct on most of those assumptions, but in the best ways possible. For one thing, its narrative is not intrusive. It tells its story through background images and environments rather than using cutscenes or animations. For instance, one segment involves a young girl who runs away from home and joins a circus. You advance this plot as you illuminate sections of the first level, revealing a house that you exit and a lonely street that carries you away from it. You eventually come to a collection of circus-themed levels, where more of the plot unravels as you shine light on various background images.

Closure (PC) image

This is a terrific way to tell stories within the medium, because it plays to its unique strengths while not sacrificing interaction. The environment is utilized in a clever way, and the narrative unravels without the player being beaten over the head with each development. You watch tales unfold and conclude, without all the annoying talkie bits and unnecessary cinematic scenes. Granted, this style of narrative doesn't lead to in-depth storytelling, but does a puzzle-platformer really need to be a literary masterpiece?

The storyline rarely dulls the game's challenge factor or level of interaction, since much of the content proves engaging. Many stages require careful examination and experimentation in order to succeed. For instance, you occasionally need to shine just enough light on a wall to be able to use it as an elevated platform. Light up too much of the wall, though, and it'll be too tall to leap onto. You'll also need to readjust some lights to create a large enough platform off to the side, while also remembering to maintain the ground beneath you (lest you fall to your death while manipulating the source). In some cases, you need to do this multiple times, and the position of each newly created platform matters tremendously. If you move a light too far to one side, you'll die; not far enough, and might not be able to reach your objective. Finding a happy medium is often imperative.

Some of the stages are downright nasty, too. I recall one that consisted of a series of platforms with shining orbs resting on them and claw-like graspers to hold them. Both a hill and a body of water lie below all that mess, with a blocked off exit beyond them. There was also a room underwater and off to the side, underneath some layers of earth. Vertical slots jutted from the ceiling, and it took me a while to figure out that I had to somehow nab some shining orbs and allow them to float into the slots underwater, so I could light up my path to the finish line. I had to act quickly after releasing an orb, too, because water similarly ceases to exist if it isn't lit. Completing that puzzle after racking my brain for ages created the illusion that I was smart, which gave me a tingly feeling in my guts.

Closure (PC) image

I plugged several hours into Closure before completing the last puzzle. I reached one final challenge after that, and it deviated greatly from the game's core concept. Without spoiling much, it involved flying rather than platforming. The only trouble is I needed to soar for a long enough amount of time to complete this segment, and my flight duration depended on how many bonus moths I caught during my adventure. Yeah, this is one of those platformers; the kind that present you with an extra collectible that turns out to be mandatory for finishing the campaign. So I went back through just about every level, searching for these collectibles and sighing for another few hours, because nabbing them and completing the challenges they inhabited was a pain.

Really, I'm not all that bitter that I got to spend more time with this terrific title. It just would've been nice to know that these items weren't merely fun little trophies, that they were actually required to properly complete the quest.

Closure (PC) image

Eventually, I amassed all of the goodies and saw the ending in its full glory. Though Closure's screenshots left me extremely underwhelmed, the experience proved to be a challenging and terrifically dark adventure that tells simple stories without wresting control from the player. The developers made the most of the gimmick, resulting in a product that's just as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. Despite what the screenshots might suggest, there's no pretense here. It's just a fantastic puzzle-platformer with a nice collection of simple stories that build toward a fulfilling conclusion.

4/5

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (May 26, 2019)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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Robotic_Attack posted June 02, 2019:

I love this game, one of the best puzzle platformers around!

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