- Replay Value
I never thought that such a simple trip to an uncle’s house could ever be so complicated. Usually, I would just expect to walk in, catch up a bit, and maybe talk about sports; Nothing over the top, just some old fashioned fun. Unfortunately for your character in Quantum Conundrum, catching up with Professor Fitz Quadwrangle (your uncle) is going to take a bit of time. You see, the brilliant professor has managed to lock himself in another dimension, all the while losing his short-term memory. Using his voice to guide you, you must make your way through his mansion, using the power of four different dimensions to solve all your dilemmas. Gosh darn it, why did my uncle have to be the crazy scientist? I just wanted to talk about sports…
I think what really caught my eye with Quantum Conundrum lies with the concept rather than the execution. When I thought about being able to control matter by manipulating dimensions, I thought that there were an endless amount of possibilities. Combine this with the great mind of Kim Swift, and you would assume that you have the necessary ingredients for a pretty swell game. Certain aspects of Quantum Conundrum’s gameplay definitely shine, too. I really enjoyed the execution of the dimensional puzzles. Deveoper Airtight Games also managed to incorporate enough variety of solutions in such a way that you could either do a puzzle the “legit” way, or you could solve them by dropping safes on your head instead of picking them up. . The only problem was that the concepts and good sections of gameplay were somewhat clouded by poorly executed sections of the game.
Let’s start by looking at the huge elephant in the room; first-person platforming becomes incredibly difficult when you have to jump onto small objects that are constantly contorting their orientation. You would think that there were minimal sections where you had to do this. What developer would subject the player to a situation where they would die simply because they can’t land on a tiny safe that is hovering over a void of nothingness. No no no, my friends. This “jumping on small objects” is a common theme throughout Quantum Conundrum. Not only that, but they will make you jump from one object to another in mid-air, leaving you somewhere around a 45% chance of making the jump without panicking or making yourself look like a spaz. It was truly infuriating, and really turned me off while I was playing. After going through a very well designed puzzle that had me throwing balls into an electromagnetic void, I would feel especially baller; A feeling that I readily accept. Then I would have to hop across 9 rows of random objects, where each time I died (which amounted to like, 15 times), I would have to wait 10 seconds to start, and it would play the same corny line each and every time. I literally thought I was going insane. That provides me with the perfect segway into my other biggest criticism; The humor is Quantum Conundrum is bad.
Nowadays, any game attempting humor will inevitably be compared to Valve’s Portal games. Glados would literally have me holding my side laughing between levels, like when she told me I was a horrible person, regardless of the fact that they weren’t testing for that. Not that you should be comparing Quantum Conundrum to Portal on a gameplay level, but the humor in Quantum Conundrum comes off stale and corny after the fact. It was like I would wait each time to hear the witty one liner, thinking it would be better than the last one, but it would leave me wanting to smash my face against a wall over and over again. I felt even worse for the voice actor who had to say them. I would think that after a while, he would come up and be like “Um, do I really have to say this? Can we please get some better jokes…..for the love of all that is funny and righteous in this world…PLEASE!” That’s what I would have done, anyways.
Most of the other problems with Quantum Conundrum lie with certain aspects of the game feeling unpolished. There were some serious frame rate issues, and the game would literally freeze up to the point where I would miss entire sections of dialogue. They were mostly at the end of levels, but I assume that they could have been fixed relatively easily with a little more time. There were also instances where the hallways and corridors between puzzles were directly copied & pasted. These things didn’t really take away from gameplay, but took away from the polished feel that games like Portal had.
Overall, I feel like Quantum Conundrum was like a bit of a disappointment. While I really enjoyed certain sections of the game, as well as the concept as a whole, I can’t help but be left with a bad taste in my mouth. There were just too many poorly executed aspects to give it the score I was originally planning (before I got to the more tedious parts of the game). It was like the developers were given all the tools to make a good game, but they just kind of threw it all together without giving everything much direction. In the end, Quantum Conundrum makes me feel distraught. I want to say good things, considering I did have fun, but the obvious flaws just make it so hard. It’s one of those games that you should buy if you can get over obvious flaws and still enjoy its core gameplay.
I’m still wondering why I had to get the short end of the stick with this whole uncle thing…