Quantum Conundrum Mucks About With Steel and Gravity

E3 2012: We check out a few new bits on what seems to be a game composed of indie game shticks.

It has been a while since we've heard about Airtight Games' Quantum Conundrum, the dimension-flipping first-person puzzle game where you're searching for your scientist uncle in his scientific fortress of a home. Luckily, the team decided to show off a little more interpersonal quirkiness with a few new puzzles of the game at E3 2012.

We checked out a new puzzle room where we were introduced to the heavy and slow-motion dimension; one turns every object in the world into heavy metal, while the other makes things move in, well, slow motion while the screen gets a bright film-grain yellow filter. The goal of the stage was simple: take two crates and put them onto the switch to open up a door to the next room. However, we were obstructed by an electric barrier to get to a battery holder; the only way to get new dimensions to tinker around with is to get specific batteries carried by your scientist uncle's mutant helper and put them into these holders. After using a combination of the heavy and slow-motion dimension flipping, we managed to get through the gate and proceed to take the battery to gain access to the fluffy dimension to help solve the room's puzzle.

We also got another sneak peek at the final bits of the game where we got a new toy to play around with: the reverse gravity dimension. The stage title "Sine Language" was clear enough of an indication that some things will fly in that wave pattern. Sure enough, puzzle boxes we carried around via flipping between normal and reverse gravity dimensions were flying like that for that particular level. It should be noted that the entire level background was more mechanical in nature (complete with vats of "science" juice wallowing down below) compared to the rest of the surreal household environment of past stages.

The comparisons to this game and the Portal series may seem easy to make at first, but Quantum Conundrum has yet to feature a genocidal passive-aggressive robot making smart-ass comments to demean a player character. Here, the game's narrative and lore are revealed from the background object descriptions and books from the main character's scientist uncle. The developers also took into account the detail of every environmental trapping; changing up the dimensions in the game will change the background and descriptions of said background in a humorous fashion.

For instance, the picture on the wall of the first puzzle room changes from a peaceful-looking tree-filled place to a landfill depending on the dimension you're in. Games like these do live and die by their narrative; while the humor isn't as sharp-edged, we welcomed this sort of humor nonetheless and hope the rest of the game follows suit.

If you wish to tax your cerebral bits in your body with 50-plus stages, Quantum Conundrum will be heading for the PC via Steam on June 21 to tickle that particular fancy. Xbox 360 and PS3 users will have to wait until later this summer.

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Just another Portal game. I may or may not get it. If it's cheap enough I might.