Moretal: Portal Mod Rexaura

By Craig Pearson on January 27th, 2012 at 2:26 pm.

Boring old non-companion cube.
You, there! Does your t-shirt say ‘I Love Portal, Especially Mods’? And is that a giant foam handheld Portal device? Say, aren’t you the chap who runs pleasemakemoreportalsmodes.com? Didn’t you name your twin sons ‘Blue’ and ‘Orange’? Is that a map to Erik Wolpaw’s house in your back pocket? Nope? I was wrong on all counts. Well this is horribly awkward. You’ve never even heard of Portal, and you’re now calling the police. Fine: I’ll just have to find someone else to talk to about this marvellous Portal mod I’ve been playing. The mod is Rexaura, and it’s more Portal in the best possible way.

It has the set parameters of a biting, funny computerised antagonist running you through a series of troubling test chambers. I like it because most of the puzzles require a certain amount of testing to conquer: the puzzles are focused around the bouncing powered plasma balls, so you have to test bounces and ricochets before the final tumblers click over in your brain. Each level’s intimidating complexity eventually withers under scrutiny, although it takes time, which makes you feel like a Portaling genius.

This cube does not offer companionship.

That’s partly because there are a few new tricks: the balls can be deflected with cubes, and there are light barriers that you can send them through that act as switches. The slow, steady unlocking of each puzzle segment is endorphin-a-licious. And because it’s easier to show you how Portal works, rather than having to explain how I manoeuvred awkwardly around like a rat in a maze, here’s an annoyingly fuzzy video of me solving an early puzzle. You’ll note I only have control of one Portal: Rexaura pulls the same trick that Portal does with a slow drip of mechanics, but having said that it does it in service of the puzzling fun rather that Portal’s overlong hand-holding. Using one ball to open the gate for another to pass through took me about five minutes to figure out after watching that cursed ball bounding between the shut gate and wall. Later on, the balls get a life span that can be altered by passing them through the portals. That’s when the puzzles shift a little towards tasking your movement as much as your ability to ponder the portal positions.

It’s utterly delightful, probably the best chunk of non-Valve Portal modding I’ve played. It’s consistent with the tone, nicely paced and rewarding to play.

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12 Comments »

  1. CaspianRoach says:

    Have you played Portal Pro? It’s the best Portal mod I’ve ever played.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      Unless I’m confusing it with another mod, I recall that one relying too much on twitch timing and jumps. In other words, I appreciated the amount of work and complexity put into it, but it wasn’t fun.

    • mrwout says:

      The description says “Portal Pro is a set of test chambers focusing on solving puzzles locally rather than using complex fling techniques. The goal here is that the solutions are hard to come up with but easy to actually do. ” So I guess it’s rather the opposite, certainly sounds intriguing.

    • fitzroy_doll says:

      Portal Pro is the first mod by the author of Rexaura. Though it is possible to solve some of Portal Pro’s chambers with twitch timings and jumps, this is never the intended solution. It isn’t as polished, but worth checking out if you enjoy Rexaura.

      The worst mod for ninja moves in place of thinking was Blue Portals. I gave up about halfway through – it was just awful.

    • passingstranger says:

      @deadly, could you be thinking of Portal Prelude? That very much did rely on twitch reflexes at times.

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      zapatapon says:

      I absolutely loved Portal Pro. The puzzles are superb, challenging without being annoying, the level design is clean and crisp with a lot of attention to detail, the script is funny. In a word, it recreated quite perfectly the original Portal feel, while still bringing in freshness. It was head and shoulders above other mods like prelude.

      If Rexaura is by the same author then I am downloading it immediately no questions asked

  2. vincio09 says:

    How did you know about my map?!

  3. bill says:

    Portal or Portal 2?

  4. Gnoupi says:

    Nope, my tshirt says “Keep staring at me, I might do a trick.”

  5. P4p3Rc1iP says:

    Funny thing, I’m actually wearing a Portal tshirt right now.

  6. appropriate touching says:

    I would like to confirm that this is really very good, and probably deserves more attention.