Quantum Conundrum (PC) review
"We play games primarily for enjoyment; we play games ideally for the full package, in which interactive and non-interactive elements are married seamlessly, and Quantum Conundrum suffers from a clear divide in quality that prevents it from ever truly resonating. That certainly doesn't stop it from being worth the money, but it's been a while since such a unique game felt so formulaic."
I'm going to describe a game and you're going to name the first one that pops into your head.
In the game I have in mind, you're a silent protagonist. You come to and find yourself trapped in a large and seemingly desolate facility full of intricate security systems and malfunctioning equipment, all of it rendered with simple colors and sleek curves. The only other immediate presence is that of an unseen, quirky administrator who addresses you over the building's loudspeakers with a frequently condescending but humorous tone. You find a prototype device that allows you to manipulate the physical world around you and are tasked with solving a series of puzzles that generally involve lasers, cubes, and other various equipment. The aforementioned overseer guides you through the basics while berating you in a distinct, identifiable voice and discussing the history and rules pertaining to the institution.
There's no getting around it: Quantum Conundrum wants to be the next Portal. The fact that it was headed by Kim Swift, one of the creators of Valve's surprise pop culture phenomenon, does not excuse it from needing to establish its own identity.
That puts me in a tricky spot, because I actually like Quantum Conundrum. As a puzzler, it has a unique central mechanic and a mostly clever application of said mechanic, barring a few hitches. It has an abundance of moments in which players will be stumped for long periods of time only to finally say, "Oh, of course that's what I'm supposed to do!" It's fun, and that's all that should matter. Yet everything else about it, from the way it looks to the story it tells, feels so hazily me-too – so interchangeable with so much else on the indie market – that it's hard for me to work up much enthusiasm for it. And if Quantum Conundrum can be excused of being a copycat by virtue of it coming from the same creative mind, then we'll simply say that Swift has tried to strike gold twice in the same location, years after the mine has been stripped bare and the supports have collapse in on themselves.
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