PAX East: Going through the many dimensions of Quantum Conundrum
Quantum Conundrum was a game I was madly looking forward to at this year’s PAX East. Hearing about the use of different dimensions sounded super interesting with Portal creator Kim Swift heading up the design. Finally sitting down with the controller in hand, you play as the nephew of Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, trying to find your uncle throughout his mansion. It’s got nice and subtle references to Portal but that’s where the comparisons stop.
Your uncle does narrate but not in that deadpan delivery of GLaDOS. The professor is a bit more light-hearted and voiced by Star Trek actor John De Lancie. He starts by walking you through the mansion and the different set of dimensions.
Let’s start with the adorable fluffy dimension. With a press of the trigger, the whole world shifts into a nice pillow-y which makes any heavy object have the weight of feathers. You can throw chairs around to create ledges and will have to use fluffy safes. But that was only one of the three dimensions since we got a hands-on of the heavy and slow-time dimensions.
Everything turns metallic in the heavy dimension and will make things easier to go through lasers. For example, a regular safe will burn up from a high-powered laser but switch it to heavy and the laser will stop, allowing you go through easily. Just don’t try and move it since you’ll have no luck at all and don’t switch back to fluffy or it’ll disappear in an instant. However, to go through two lasers, I had to shoot a heavy box through a laser and once it passed through, switch to fluffy to bounce and back to heavy so it lands on the laser for me to exit the level. You’ll have to be on your wits when it comes to switching your dimensions on the fly.
Not to mention each time you flick through a dimension, the environment shifts and that’ll lead to paintings on the walls changing from normal to adorable to…a little punk-ish. You can also grab everything through in the environment where I would look at the books on the walls and they’d say hilarious quips. Attention to detail is key in Quantum Conundrum and it’s quite lovely.
The last dimension was slow-down time and it can make platforming very scary. Seeing safes slowly moving only to switch back to normal and go flying gives you a sense of dread, hoping to make the next platform. Jumping through slow-moving blades is definitely better than going through it normally as you’d…die. I literally had to go up while safes were shot up and having to time my jumps going up and making sure the right safes were up in the air.
So Quantum Conundrum is shaping up to be great little first-person puzzle game. It’s got a great sense of character where Portal‘s dark humor ends and Quantum‘s cartoony whimsy continues, almost to a Pixar-like degree. It’s due out this summer and me and the rest of the team are looking totally forward to it. Look forward to some audio interview with Kim Swift coming soon from PAX East.
Check out more awesome XBLA game previews and impressions from PAX East 2012!