Personally speaking my favorite part of E3 is the games that you just don't see coming. Whether they're small titles that were only announced a short time ago or they're brand new games being announced this is what I generally look forward to the most. So stepping into the Quantum Conundrum theater at the Square-Enix booth was a really exciting thing for me and it has more than paid off as this is one of my favorite games at E3 2012.
When the game starts up it has a fairly familiar look to it to anyone familiar with Portal. It's clear that the game is inspired by Valve's smash hit but Airtight Games aren't going to settle just for imitating, they're aiming to create their own brain bending puzzler although hopefully without all the teeth grinding memes spewing out for the next few years.
In Quantum Conundrum you control a young boy of indeterminate age (somewhere between 9 and 12 years old) who is dropped off at his uncle's house. His uncle is an eccentric scientist named Fitz Quadrangle, voiced by John Delancy, Q of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, who has apparently gone missing. It seems likely that one of his experiments must have gone awry and only by using his inventions can we find him.
To this end the boy picks up the IDS, an interdimensional shifting device. Using this he can shift dimensions to explore his uncle's strange home and hopefully find him. By using the IDS and giant batteries you find, filled with "Science Juice" at that, it's possible to actively shift dimensions. Four of these dimensions was shown off during the developer presentation although only three were available in the gameplay demo:
- First was the Fluffy Dimension where everything gets white and puffy and super cutsey. Since things are getting so fluffy they're also getting much lighter, allowing you to pick things up that would have been far too heavy to move before.
- Next was the Heavy Dimension. Almost like a complete inversion of the Fluffy Dimension, when you swap to this one everything gets incredibly heavy due to everything being made out of a thick, rusty looking metal.
- Third was the slow time dimension. Much like you would expect during the slow time dimension everything runs at a slower pace than usual. The only real graphical change is a yellow filter placed on top of everything.
- The final one only shown off by the developers was the reverse gravity dimension. In this dimension basically everything that isn't bolted down will be yanked to the ceiling. This is a tricky dimension to work with but it allows for some really creative problem solving.
Since neither you, nor several particular objects in the environment, swap dimensions you'll always have a constant gameplay experience to balance out the tricky parts to the various dimensions you'll mess with. So you'll never have to worry about the doors, buttons or switches not working as you'd expect. But since everything else in the game world does change attributes you have a wide variety of ways to handle each puzzle.
Quantum Conundrum grabbed my attention more than any other game at E3 this year due to my adoration of puzzle games. It released on Steam June 21st and will be coming to XBLA and PSN later this summer. Don't miss out on what's certain to be one of the top titles this year.