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Review

Quantum Conundrum Review

  • Game release: June 21, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Quantum Conundrum's nutty interdimensional experiments don't go off without a hitch, but this inventive first-person puzzler still produces some enjoyable results.

by

Actual science is full of the potential for fun, but mad science has it beat in this department, because it doesn't need to abide by the pesky, restrictive rules of reality. Quantum Conundrum's take on interdimensional travel may not hold up to scientific scrutiny, but who cares? This clever first-person puzzle game gives your noggin a satisfying workout. Unfortunately, it sometimes loses its focus in some frustrating sequences that require you to combine dimension-shifting with platforming, but the buzz your brain gets from solving its tricky puzzles makes it worth putting up with these problems.

You play as the 10-year-old nephew of Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, a scientist whose experiments with interdimensional rifts have gotten him trapped in the dimension where our lost socks, cell phones, and all the other things that mysteriously disappear on us end up. As the nameless kid, you must venture through the outrageously impractical Quadwrangle Manor, whose wings are crammed with dimensional experiments run amok. Professor Quadwrangle's stately voice is provided by actor John de Lancie, and though his dialogue is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, his smug yet jocular attitude makes him a pleasant presence throughout your journey. There's an appealing simplicity to the game's visuals, and the lighthearted sense of humor--the way paintings change to reflect whatever dimension you're currently in, for instance--keeps your predicament from ever feeling like a burden.

Not long after you arrive at the mansion, your uncle's disembodied voice directs you to acquire a glove called the IDS (or interdimensional shift) device. To progress through the manor on your impromptu rescue mission, you must make smart use of four alternate dimensions in addition to the "normal" dimension we all call home. You can be in only one dimension at a time, and the dimensions you have available to you depend on a number of factors, like which part of the manor you're in and which dimensional batteries have been placed in the nearest receptacle.

The first dimension you're introduced to is the fluffy dimension; here, objects around you become light enough to carry and to throw with ease. The applications of shifting into the fluffy realm are easy to grasp. If you need to place a heavy object on a weight-triggered switch, grab a safe in the fluffy dimension, set it down on the switch, and shift back to normal. If a pane of glass stands between you and where you need to go, pick up a fluffy couch, throw it at the window, and return it to normal as it flies through the air, giving it the necessary substance to shatter the glass and let you proceed.

The antigravity dimension is good for making objects travel along the underside of conveyor belts.

There's not a great deal of complexity to the earliest puzzles in which you can only enter and exit this one alternate dimension, but additional dimensions are progressively worked into the mix. The second dimension is referred to as heavy, and here, even the lightest of objects becomes impossible to lift, and even normally flimsy cardboard boxes are invulnerable to the destructive power of the lasers that make many of the manor's chambers so hazardous to your health. You need to make clever use of these dimensions to navigate some dangerous areas, and the first few times you lift a fluffy safe onto a springboard, stand on it, make it heavy, and then make it fluffy again to launch yourself through the air are joyous.

The next dimension you gain the ability to enter and exit is the slow-motion dimension. Here, time slows to a crawl; lasers that normally shoot forth at imperceptible speeds can now be outrun, and you can give yourself ample time to leap onto that footstool you just threw over a chasm and ride it to safety, which feels like a spectacular feat. Slow motion is common enough in games, but this is slow even by slow-motion standards. You can toss an object from one room into another, slow down time, and then run into the next room and have seconds to spare before the object arrives. The numerous enjoyable applications of this dimension will have you wishing you could carry it with you out of the game and back into the real world.

In the final dimension you gain access to, gravity is reversed, and anything that isn't bolted down (except you) flies up toward the ceiling. With this ability, you can use safes as elevators and trigger switches on ceilings, among other things. Much of the time, Quantum Conundrum crafts clever puzzles around these four dimensions. Getting through a chamber is rarely a simple matter of using just one dimension; rather, you typically need to make use of the properties of two or three or four dimensions to arrive at the exit, and objects such as drinking birds (those toy birds that dip their heads periodically) are also sometimes essential to your success.

Though many of the puzzles may have you stumped for a bit, the solutions are always logical and fair, abiding by the observable properties of the dimensions you have available. As a result, the epiphanies that hit your brain like lightning strikes when the confounding suddenly becomes clear will have your inner mad scientist hopping with glee.

Only objects in the heavy dimension can withstand the intensity of these lasers.

Alas, Quantum Conundrum isn't content with putting you in the role of interdimensional problem-solver. You must also be a platforming hero. Leaping onto a slow-motion safe as it soars through the air is easy enough, but you're called upon to perform some increasingly difficult feats in the later areas of the mansion--leaping between flying pieces of furniture while also deftly switching between dimensions to keep them sailing through the air without bringing them into contact with lasers, for instance. The first-person perspective makes it hard at times to judge just where you are in relation to objects around you, and the trickiness of successfully pulling off some of the necessary maneuvers may have you second-guessing yourself. Is what you're doing not working because it's not the right solution, or are you just not pulling it off correctly? Quantum Conundrum is at its best when it requires your brain, rather than your reflexes, to do the heavy lifting.

But the occasional frustration that results from these weaker moments isn't enough to derail Quantum Conundrum. The rewarding sense of experimentation and problem-solving that dominates this quest makes putting up with its foibles worthwhile, and the twisting, puzzling halls of Quadwrangle Manor are substantial enough to justify the $14.99 price of admission. It doesn't always play to its strengths, but the clever ideas and confounding brainteasers of Quantum Conundrum make it a mostly enjoyable journey into the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh dimensions.

The Good
Various dimensions have fun properties
Numerous smart, challenging puzzles
Pleasantly lighthearted look and tone
The Bad
Some weak platforming elements
7.5
Good
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Discussion

36 comments
freedomspopular
freedomspopular

Just got around to playing through this. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Honestly, I actually liked the platforming that was mixed in. I'm not a huge puzzle games person, so have some other elements to it was nice.

madattak
madattak

Anyway, I think 7.5 is right. it can pretty much be summarized as good but not excellent, with the only major flaws being some annoying platforming and a disappointing ending.

kkushalbeatzz
kkushalbeatzz

It might not be "Portal with another skin" but something about it screams Portal. IDK, maybe it's just me.

MarcusVOG
MarcusVOG

"It's Portal with another skin". No it isn't. No chance in hell this is Portal. Just because a game is a FPS puzzle game, doesn't mean it's Portal.

Gbullet
Gbullet

What criteria was used to make an evalutation on this game, i see only one bad aspect [ Some weak platforming elements ] and that is all that lowered the score to 7,5 ? From a 10 to 7,5 - that is alot for a game only with one bad aspect. Time to set up a more precise scale to rank games Gamespot, Graphics, Replay Value, Longevity, Presentation, Music, Story and Originality, evaluating each one of them individually and granting a final score in conformity with all the previous aspects, so all of us readers can understand the ratings given to certain games (Gravity Rush per se) and not dwell in a sea of questions when faced with some reviews.

eps01
eps01

Just played through the whole thing. Loved every bit of it! So much so I passed it all in one day. Doh! But at least I can say that it provides you with 7 hours of game time. A bit short, but then again it's just 15 bucks. What else would one expect? :)

Simple fun gameplay, clever puzzles, refreshing light-hearted humor, and relaxing music. And nothing beats "couch surfing" XD

Look forward to letting my friends play it and watch them tackle the brain-teasing puzzles :)

UnwantedSpam
UnwantedSpam

Looks interesting. I loved the Portal series, so this is a must-buy for me! :D

Leboyo56
Leboyo56

So I'm reading this while also reading Gameinformer's review...

RealHarry
RealHarry

Wow, this game looks so....refreshing. I miss cartoony artstyles, or maybe I haven't been looking at the right places. I'll probably get this on Steam. Also this game was designed by the former lead designer of Portal. So yay.

realdevilsalias
realdevilsalias

Loved the review.  I too hated the platforming.  For me it was all most a deal breaker.  But really it shouldn't keep you from playing what is essentially a good game.

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

I liked Portal and Portal 2, but after beating them, I didn't felt particularly amazed by those games. Portal 1, to me, was some kind of experimental demo and that's it. Although I liked its puzzles, I prefer physics puzzles than portals. But that's just me. Also, I thought that the Portal games were way, way too sterile and clinical-looking ( even if Portal 2 has some visual improvements ) and quickly got me bored and wishing for some visual flavor. I think Quantum is in the same league, without the super-witty/wierd Valve touch that makes Portal's writting excellent.

feared4power
feared4power

Portal: Quantum Conundrum

Then this game would of got a 9.5

madattak
madattak

It isnt Portal, the reason why people say that is because both games are first-person puzzle with a silent protagonist, a funny but mysterious voice over and you only get to meet the owner of the voice at the end, like Portal.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @Gbullet Games do not start at 10 and only lose points for flaws. The "good" things about this game are just that, "good." They are not superb. Games need to earn their scores, and this one earns a very respectable 7.5.

moviequest14
moviequest14

 @fanaticsm You seriously just went there? Insulted a Kim Swift game? My name is moviequest14 , you just insulted a great game , prepare to die.

Maluigi
Maluigi

 @fanaticsm Dude, I've been anticipating this game for a while.  If you look into it, it's actually pretty cool.  So don't think that just because you haven't heard or seen a game that's reviewed that it's automatically not your thing.  

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @feared4power Nah, Portal and Portal 2 are on another level of excellence, thanks to their razor-sharp writing and to their frequently mindblowing puzzles. That's not to take anything away from Quantum Conundrum, though. It's a very enjoyable game with some really clever, satisfying puzzles. It's not in the same league as Portal 2, but a game doesn't need to be Portal 2 to be lots of fun.

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

 @carolynmichelle and i apologize if my earlier comment offended u.....i didnt mean to disrespect you or the work that u do....i think GS reviews rock and are the best and most accurate......ive been a visitor here since the days of the PSOne and follow GS recommendations like 99% of the time.....and the Civilization series is one of my favorite series and its the 1st true expansion the Civilization V so thats why i was anxious to see how GS rated it......sorry again......REVIEW ON!!!!!!!! p.s. im getting this game too :P

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

 @carolynmichelle :) :) :) :) GAMESPOT ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as always......though the reviews have been a bit slow these days......

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

 @moviequest14 apologies if i hurt anyone's feelings....cant we all just get along???????gamers rule.....dont they.....

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

 @carolynmichelle and can you please include system requirements for PC games?????that would be AWESOME.....i know, i know i can check other websites....but it would be great to have all the info in one place.....

moviequest14
moviequest14

 @carolynmichelle thanks for the info! Also , can/does it download outside of steam for complete offline play without steam involvement? I know it's probably a stupid question but I'm not sure...

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @moviequest14 No, it doesn't have anything like the wit of the Portal games. It has a light sense of humor that's pleasant in a family-friendly sort of way but is rarely laugh-out-loud funny.

Quantum Conundrum More Info

First Release on Jun 21, 2012
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
Quantum Conundrum is a quirky first-person puzzle platformer where players take on the role of a 12-year old nephew to the eccentric Professor Fitz Quadwrangle.
7.6
Average User RatingOut of 194 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Quantum Conundrum
Developed by:
Airtight Games
Published by:
Square Enix
Genres:
Puzzle
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Everyone
All Platforms
Comic Mischief