Ah, puzzle platformers. It’s the best genre for making you feel like that kid from The Wizard while he plays Mario Bros 3 one moment, and then rudely makes you feel like that same kid when he tries to successfully talk to humans. They must have highs and lows to keep you occupied and entertained as you chase another shot of dopamine, hopping from ledge to precarious ledge.
In order to be successful, Quantum Conundrum needed to achieve the above parameters while adding a bit of its own flavor. The dopamine chase needs to be somewhat unique to justify any game’s existence, what with the puzzle-platformer genre getting increasingly crowded with high quality titles. QC throws in enough varied puzzle design as well as interesting concepts to secure its place at the gaming table with its peers.
Quantum Conundrum is another “science has gone kooky” game. Professor Quadwrangle, your zany uncle, has somehow teleported himself into a strange dimension through his experiments. As you arrive on one of your visits you are given a super magic glove that has the ability to change the properties of your surroundings.
The Fluffy Dimension makes things lighter allowing items to be picked up by you or a conveniently placed fan. The Heavy Dimension is the opposite of the Fluffy in that it causes things to become denser and more laser resistant. The Slow Dimension slows down time while the Reverse Gravity Dimension reverses the gravity. Those last two aren’t as unique, but they still add an impressive amount of variety to the game world.
As you journey through Professor Quadwrangle’s mansion starting generators, you must traverse a number of rooms. You initially start with only the ability to change one property of the dimension but by the end of your quest you must switch between all four dimensions in increasingly complicated ways. One room requires you to use spring platforms and alternates between Heavy and Fluffy dimensions to launch you to higher ledges like a perpetual motion trampoline.
Quantum Conundrum is a little too long for my taste. The repetitive nature of the environments made me think that I wasn’t making any progress through the mansion and I was not getting the dopamine drip that I became addicted to. The puzzles on the other hand never seemed to overly repeat themselves. After a few hours Professor Quadwrangle made a joke that every room looked the same, which made me chuckle a little.
The writing is a little weak and didn’t offer too many quality one-liners. The voice over is done in that classic disembodied all-knowing narrator way and eventually wore out its welcome. It was never atrocious, but I found Professor Quadwrangle dull. On the other hand he does do a great job commenting on the ridiculousness of the situations you find yourself in while maintaining his crazy scientist vibe. Maybe a few less flat one-liners and more thought out soliloquies would have helped.
Fortunately, Quantum Conundrum’s mansion is peppered with its own personality. Small touches like the pictures on the wall changing depending on which dimension you are in or the ramshackle way things are put together make the mansion stand out and justify some of the more ridiculous rooms you will find yourself in. Even the item spouting machines are given a dog like personality as they hang on the wall and stare at you.
Add in a few collectables, a fluffy sidekick named Ike and leaderboards and you have a great package in Quantum Conundrum. It isn’t perfect nor will it be remembered years from now but it successfully achieves its goal. You may not become a dopamine ravaged addict by the end but I think you will have a good time.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PC version of Quantum Conundrum provided by Square Enix. It is also available on XBLA and PC.