This morning I've been playing the demo of first-person physics puzzler, Twin Sector. Here's a mirror list - it's about 800mb - and all the installers would appear to have multiple language options. I'd usually link to the GamersHell mirrors, but the file seems to be corrupted in this instance. Also, turn the subtitles off before you start playing, they're totally out of sync with the voice acting, which is more than enough. Anyway, more thoughts on the game below.
Even the idea of a first-person puzzle game in a sci-fi science facility suggests that this is inspired by Portal, and with its full-lipped female protagonist and AI guide, the influences are strong indeed. It does lack Portal's satirical bent, however, this is rather straight-faced fiction with a "oh amensia" premise. It's also an entirely different puzzle set. No teleports here, insteady you have two "gravity gloves", one for push and one for pull. What's interesting about this idea is that it seems to be a logical extrapolation of how the gravity gun worked: you can throw yourself around with it by pushing and pulling on immovable objects. You can do power-jumps by telekinetically dragging yourself around the environment, and you can create soft landings for yourself when the drop would otherwise be lethal.
You can also, naturally, pick objects up and hurl them about to hit remote buttons, or to smash things.
What's most interesting - and promising - about Twin Sector's object manipulation, however, is that they've figured out a neat method for rotating and turning the object in front of you by using the mouse wheel. This means that when you have to place an object in a very specific place the task is entirely straightforward, rather than the accidental glitchiness we so often see in this kind of physics manipulation. I hope that this factors in to some more sophisticated challenges as the game goes forward. Because, well, the downside seems to be that I've been neither challenged nor surprised by the puzzles in the demo. These may or may not be representative of the full thing, of course, but it would have been good to have seen something really inventive from the off. Hopefully an escalating complexity (and difficulty) will make the game come alive as it progresses. We'll try and get our hands on the complete version soon, and find out. If nothing else I think Twin Sector demonstrates intriguing potential. I've been hoping for more first-person puzzlers since Half-Life 2 (doubly since Portal) and this - despite its surface blandness - holds some promise.