Quantum Conundrum Activates The Demo Dimension

By Nathan Grayson on July 3rd, 2012 at 11:37 pm.

When you exit, the demo notes that Ike will 'be sad' if you don't buy the full version. So, of course, I bought 800.

So Alec declared the wonderfully whimsical Kim Swift’s (which makes her sound like some kind of circus magician) Quantum Conundrum “that most maddening, saddening breed of videogame – the Almost Success.” But what does Alec know? Maybe he accidentally clicked on James Bond: Quantum of Solace or a quantum physics lecture instead. So clearly, the only solution is to take it for a test drive yourself. And now, you can do that with a freshly fluffy demo that’s emerged from Steam’s magical vapors. But, uh, you may not learn quite as much as you’re hoping.

Problem is, it’s a demo that takes place really early in the game, and you only get to mix and match dimensions on a couple puzzles. Beyond that, it’s just the basics of “this dimension does this, this other dimension does that.” I mean, fluffy and heavy are pretty well represented, but slow-mo’s segment is basically on autopilot, and anti-grav doesn’t show up at all. Meanwhile, Alec’s main quibbles with Quantum Conundrum arose when dimension-shifting powers combined their, er, powers to form the mighty Difficulty Spike of legend. And then the professor never stopped repeating himself and everyone was sad forever.

So this demo will give you a general idea of what makes Quantum Conundrum tick, but don’t expect the full version to frolic along at the same pace. Even so, it’s well worth a try, seeing as – while it might not quite reach the heights it’s shooting for – Quantum Conundrum is at least powered by an impressively large selection of smart ideas. So go fire lasers at safes and stuff. That is what I wish of you on this day.

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28 Comments »

  1. Xocrates says:

    I played the demo earlier and actually noticed hints of bigger problems (or more precisely hints that I might not enjoy the game).

    In particular, it bothered me that plenty of puzzles were “timed” and there seemed to be way too much platforming for what I consider a puzzle game. It’s noteworthy that the slo-mo section consists almost entirely of platforming over a bottomless pit.

    And the narration really didn’t seem that good. It was too omnipresent while lacking personality.

    Granted, this may just mean it was a poor demo, but at the very least I got the impression it is a very different game from what I expected (and consequentely, a game I’m much less interested in)

    • magnus says:

      Well it’s not Portal 2 it’s not even trying to be and people thinking it is hasn’t done it any favours.

      • Xocrates says:

        Actually, the problem isn’t that it isn’t like Portal (a comparison I didn’t make btw) so much as it apparently failed to learn the main lessons from that game while trying to imitate much of what it didn’t have to.

        My problem is that the game does not appear to know whether to be a platform game or a puzzle game, and to top it off neither side appears to be particularly good or interesting.

        q.u.b.e. was a clear portal knockoff, but at least that one seemed to know what it was, even if it failed on a lot of points. QC doesn’t appear to know what it is or what it wants to achieve.

        Keep in mind that I’m basing this on the demo and reading the Wot I think. I may be way off, but this is certainly the impression I’m getting.

    • Godwhacker says:

      Just turn the sound off and listen to some music- you won’t miss anything, and I reckon it improves the experience. The jokes aren’t very funny and quite often the voice-over gives you the answer to a puzzle before you’ve had a chance to work it out for yourself.

      But it’s still fun.

    • Reiver says:

      Yeah, there’s definitely too much in the way of platforming for my tastes. My main points of frustration with the game haven’t been solving the puzzles but in the implementation of the solution. Added to that there’s a lot of times where i feel i’ve bodged my way through but not in the Portal way where i feel a slight bit of pride in my unconventional thinking. There’s just less of those excellent “AHA” moments.

      Admittedly some of my problems have been cackhandedness on my part but the physics feel off and too imprecise for a game where you frequently need to be exact otherwise you’re repeating a chunk of hard jumps and timed dimensional switches. There’s an uncomfortable floatiness to things, you have the ability to alter your trajectory mid jump but when you land there’s an annoying bit of momentum that can see you off and over the edge. Also, couches as platforms are just annoying. it may fit with the world design but a platform that has barriers (the couch arms) either side of it is just frustrating.

      • Matt_W says:

        I think the problem is that people expect a puzzle game to be non-twitch, and this game most certainly requires twitch skills. My most satisfying moments in this game were skill based, e.g. successfully couch surfing across a large gap while avoiding rotating lasers. That said, many of the puzzles did give me that AHA feeling, most especially when it seems like you need to be able to use two (or more) dimensions simultaneously, and you have to figure out how to do it with just the one.

        • Xocrates says:

          The reason people don’t expect puzzle games to be twitch based is because most people do not enjoy twitch based puzzling.

          Consequently, if the game gets less attention, it’s the game own fault, regardless of whether the game succeeds on its goals or not.

          • Cinnamon says:

            Yeah, everybody hates Tetris.

          • Xocrates says:

            Tetris is a completely different type of puzzle. As in, it cannot be solved. Twitch gameplay is the only manner of making the game interesting.

            But if you’re working towards an actual solution, twitch skills is just a distraction.

          • Cinnamon says:

            The design of the game is clearly set up so that once you have found a way to solve the level the replayablity comes from working out how to solve it faster or with fewer actions.

          • Xocrates says:

            Good.

            Too bad it’s not the kind of game I wanted or enjoy.

          • Cinnamon says:

            I guess you don’t enjoy it because you are people unlike the people who do enjoy it.

          • Xocrates says:

            You didn’t even read the entire post you started replying to, did you?

            That was my freaking point. That and that there a lot more people like me.

            The game, by design, choose to alienate a lot of its potential audience, and I’m not sure it was intentional.

          • Cinnamon says:

            Yeah, yeah, you are very important.

          • Xocrates says:

            Yeah, thank you for missing the point, this discussion is keeping me entertained.

          • caljohnston says:

            I don’t mind twitch puzzling, but QC seems to be a really poorly optimized game that runs at 20-30 fps despite being a very ugly game, and somehow independently of that manages to just feel sluggish in the way it handles even when the fps rises. That + twitch puzzles = hell on earth.

    • LaurieCheers says:

      For what it’s worth, I found the game became a lot more fun as it progressed. The earlier “timed” puzzles are just there as teaching tools.

      (In particular, the design of some of the slow motion puzzles is very impressive.)

    • cunningmunki says:

      If it was called a ‘platform’ game would you complain there were too many puzzles? Let’s face it, if this hadn’t been made by one of the originators of Portal people wouldn’t have so many expectations of it being *like* Portal. But then we probably wouldn’t be playing it because we wouldn’t have heard of it!

      I’m a quarter of the way through, and I’m loving it. It’s charming, eye-catching, funny and inventive.

  2. webwielder says:

    The bland ass graphics, platforming, lack of manual save, and wince-inducing keytar “joke” convinced me that I do not wish to purchase this.

  3. rocketman71 says:

    It’s certainly not Portal 2, but it’s a very nice game, especially considering it’s price. Yeah, it has flaws, and I hope they fix them and make this a better game.

    BTW, shame on Oli at Eurogamer. There’s no fucking way this is a 5/10. After this and his 9 for Diablo 3, I’m not reading anything from him ever again.

  4. ResonanceCascade says:

    I wouldn’t really recommend the game. It feels like a budget kids game rather than a budget all-ages game. I’d buy it for a 10-year-old, but not an adult.

  5. Matt_W says:

    Don’t listen to these killjoys. QC is a great game. It is perfectly priced at $15. Like Portal, the puzzles are challenging, but not insurmountable. And, I thought the voice-over work was fine. Certainly, it’s not as funny as Portal 2, but it’s not horrible either. This is a great 3D puzzle-platformer. I’m not sure where the negativity comes from, but it’s not warranted.

    • Bilateralrope says:

      How is couches flying upwards, and you having to jump between them, a puzzle ?

      The only ‘puzzle’ I saw in the demo that required much thought was timing your dimension switches so that a laser would cut you a staircase. Which was further spoiled by the levels name: Stairway to fluffy.
      I don’t expect much difficulty in early puzzles. However, giving a hint to the solution in the level name is just bad.

      As for the jokes, the main problem with them was that they were badly delivered. To make it worse, I know that John de Lancie can do much better. If it was some unknown voice actor I’d have brushed it aside as them not being able to afford anyone better.

  6. Legion23 says:

    I managed to get myself completly stuck on an object just playing the trial and had to reload the last checkpoint. I know it is highly arguable but the fact this only has a checkpoint system and no quicksave is a deal breaker for me, especially with all the platforming going on. I don´t know I kinda expected more fun out of the game but maybe that´s just my fault with my expectations.

  7. Nebular says:

    I wish the demo had come out BEFORE the game. I’m about half way through the 3rd section of the house and am just so sick of it. A few of the gags and lines are amusing the first time but become incredibly annoying when you keep hearing them over-and-over. Things like the paintings changing depending on which dimension are neat and some of them are pretty damn funny. But for a game that relies so heavily on platforming it sure does a godawful job of it. Jumping just feels way too floaty and imprecise for what they’re wanting you to do and I finally gave up in frustration after falling to my death for the billionth time because of it. I want to like it but I just can’t.

  8. Suits says:

    Too much timing based puzzles, it’s ok in small doses. However the first person platforming is horrible no matter how much of it there is.

  9. Bassem says:

    Before the game was released, I was really looking forward to it. Then it came out, and the reviews were middling at best, so that deflated me.

    I’m glad there’s a demo now, because I just played it and I’m excited again.
    (I have to clarify that I quite enjoy first person platforming.)
    Also the narration, at least in the demo, did not annoy me. And I love how the game looks, and all those paintings and how they change.

    Since it has no multiplayer element, I’m not in any hurry to buy it; I have way too many titles in my library waiting to be played.