XBLA Review: Quantum Conundrum

Is this conundrum worth solving?

Quantum Conundrum follows the story of a young boy who visits his uncle’s mansion, only to find that he isn’t there and an explosion is heard, your task is to rescue your uncle from the hidden depths of the mansion using a glove that allows you to mess with the dimensions of the room, you can make objects light, heavy, float and slow down time to reach your goal. It comes from the minds behind Portal, so expect similarities in how you play….but can this game really take Portal’s piece of cake?

Almost. It feels very familiar in its style and humour, with dialogue from the uncle as you progress through the mansion, and the puzzles are well thought out, some were real head scratchers, that’s for sure. As with Portal, you’ll need to activate switches and make it to the end of the chamber, but you aren’t given all the tools in every room, in fact some will only offer you two of the four abilities, while in some you can find the rest in areas attached by a little creature called Ike.

Getting to grips with different weights, time and gravity does take some getting used to, especially when it comes to momentum, but when you figure out a tough level you really feel good, at least I did, there are also collectables to be found that are fairly well hidden, but some are pretty clear to find.

In terms of achievements, the game dishes out 400 gamerpoints but they are far from easy to obtain. You will have to repeat levels to beat times, limit the amount of times you use the glove and manage to complete every level without dying, no small feat I can assure you. Visually, it does feel very much like a cel-shaded Portal and that’s brilliant, having said that though it would have been nice for the corridors leading to the next levels to be different, but they rarely are and the backgrounds are basic, sometimes with a few portraits on the wall for the uncle to tell you about, and there are framerate issues when doors load.

If there’s one thing that almost ruins the game, it’s the ending. Ok, so it’s not as controversial as say…Mass Effect 3, it’s just a little disappointing. You go through 50+ stages and you get a silly ending that makes all your efforts feel pointless, but on the flipside it does open the ground to the possibility of DLC or a sequel.

The Verdict

While it’s no Portal 2, Quantum Conundrum is a nice substitute until the inevitable Portal 3 heads our way. The story may be a little predictable and the ending did annoy me, but the puzzles are really inventive and brain-busting, 1200 Microsoft Points might appear steep but believe me…it’s a bargain.