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PAXEast 2012: Into Another Dimension with Quantum Conundrum

Kim Swift is at it again with another brain bending, physics twisting adventure

By Josh Garwood on 4/7/2012
The dimensionality of space and time; the ability to control one with no consequence in the other, and to seamlessly manipulate the elements therein. Such is the Quantum Conundrum, and coincidentally the latest title from Redmond-based developer, Airtight Games. Forged from the mind of Kim Swift (progenitor of the now de facto standard for modern puzzlers in Portal), Quantum Conundrum is in many ways an extension of everything that made Portal such a ground breaking experience, while at the same time manages to pioneer an entirely new path for the genre.

Players are once again entangled in a world that eschews the rigidity of Newtonian mechanics for one in which time and space can be altered with the press of a button. Indeed, you play the role of a 12-year-old boy who is in search of his missing uncle, Fitz Quadwrangle, after an unfortunate science experiment transports him to another place and time. Using an Interdimensional Shift Device (I.D.S) and a combination of specially-charged batteries, the player can alter the physical properties of a given room to progress in their journey to find Uncle Q. In the demo we played today, there were three dimensions (Fluffy, Heavy, and Slo-Mo) that could be activated at will once the appropriate batteries were installed for the current room. Dimensional shifts can be triggered by pressing one of the three mapped "shift" buttons, and once in a new dimension, there is a visual cue to indicate whether you're able to lift previously immovable safes, or give them additional weight to block impeding lasers, for instance. While the geometry of the world retains its traditional shape and volume, its weight and speed can be drastically altered from one dimension to the next.

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As mentioned in our preview, switching dimensions on the fly is a necessary part of navigating through each enigmatic challenge; whether you're building and destroying blocks in Fluffy and Heavy dimensions, or using the Slow-Mo dimension to ride a poorly upholstered ottoman through a vacuous hallway, each has its purpose. Fortunately for the player, each challenge is aided by an auspicious narrator (voiced by John de Lancie) who, unlike the brutally indifferent GLaDOS, offers helpful and comical guidance when needed. In speaking with Creative Director Kim Swift, we found that over 800 lines of dialogue were written and recorded for Quantum Conundrum. So while this may be a solo experience, the player isn't likely to feel alone.

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Scheduled for a Summer release, Quantum Conundrum is shaping up to be the most cerebral and original puzzler since Portal. Tight controls coupled with well designed and engaging levels combine to create the most uninhibited fun I've had with a game at PAXEast thus far. With over 50 levels, and a number of challenge rooms, the game is expected to last anywhere between six and twelve hours and will be available on XBLA, PSN, and Steam. If you ever enjoyed Portal, or are just a puzzle junkie, we implore you to put Quantum Conundrum near the top of your wishlist.
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Elleyena on April 08, 2012
This is most definitely a game I'm looking forward to.  It sounds like a new challenge, and I'm up to it!
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