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Quantum Conundrum Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Quantum Conundrum is about as close as you can get to ripping off Portal without Valve contacting their lawyers. Some of the puzzles are fun, but the game ultimately devolves into nothing more than platform hopping. The moments of brilliance cannot make up for some truly awful writing and an anticlimactic ending! Rating: 71%
Quantum Conundrum
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  • Review Score:

  • B
A long time ago I interviewed the makers of Field Commander, a PSP game that shamelessly ripped off Nintendo's Advance Wars series. I asked them about this critique, curious if they would get defensive and deny the obvious. To their credit, they acknowledged the influence and took on the charge. They told me that they were fine with being compared to Nintendo's classic strategy title, because, by their measurement, Advance Wars is one of the greatest games of all time.

I imagine the makers of Quantum Conundrum have a similar reaction when being compared to Portal. This is a game so similar to Valve's seminal puzzler that I'm surprised it's not litigious. All of the elements are in place -- test chambers full of puzzles, a disembodied voice commenting on everything you do, a companion cube, whimsical writing and, just to be safe, an indie nerdcore rock song to play out the credits. The only thing missing from Portal is the clever writing and the actual portals.

Quantum Conundrum (XBLA)

You play a voiceless kid who gets sucked into a wild adventure full of dimensional shifts, deadly lasers and gremlins. His uncle is a mad scientist who has spent his life developing ice beams and time machines. He lives is a gigantic mansion/laboratory on the edge of a giant cliff, precariously close to falling into the wicked waves below.

As luck would have it, your uncle has been sent into an alternate dimension. Unfortunately, this means he won't be able to go through these various challenges himself. Instead all he can do is look on and guide his nephew to victory. It's up to you to go in his place, completing the trials and restarting each wing of the mansion. Do that and you'll bring the whole family together, not to mention save the world from some catastrophic dimensional meltdown.

Each wing brings a new set of abilities to master. The first wing gives the player control over the weight of physical objects. With one touch of the button, our hero can turn a heavy safe into an object light as a feather. You are also able to make things heavy. This allows the player to turn a regular cardboard box into an object as heavy as a safe.

Quantum Conundrum (XBLA)

Before long the game introduces a new ability, a dimension that slows everything down. Suddenly this opens up a number of exciting new possibilities. You can pick up a safe and throw it into the air, trigger the slow motion, jump onto the safe suspended in midair and ride it across a bottomless gap. You can get past dangerous lasers and fan blades without being noticed. These three abilities give the developers a lot of room to come up with clever challenges.

Once you've mastered slow motion, the game throws one last dimensional shift at you. This time around you can remove gravity, pushing everything that isn't bolted to the floor up to the ceiling. Now you have the ability to not only ride a thrown object, but you can make it float indefinitely. Suddenly you are forced to think about object placement and what will happen when you reverse gravity.
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