BADGP Reviews: Antichamber
Review: Colorful Confusion
March 20, 2013
I did not take many notes while playing Antichamber. I think I can attribute this to a combination of two things. One, I was too immersed within the game world to take time to write about what I was experiencing. This is very possible because I beat this game in one day in about four and half hours. Two, there is not much to write about Antichamber except that it is fairly exceptional. This could turn out to be a very short review; I will try my hardest to explain why this first-person puzzler is worth playing.
The game looks great. Antichamber possesses an austere appearance balanced by splashes of well-placed color. I did not encounter any technical issues, but sometimes the wall corners come together strangely. There is no voice acting and the sound design is minimal as is the music. The story is vague… I hesitate to say that there is no story due to the odd nature of the ending, so I’ll say that there is almost no story. The game does offer an interesting philosophy of how one can deal faced with roadblocks. These uplifting tidbits are also potential tips for aiding in solving the puzzle.
Here’s an example of one of the collectable tips:
The main gameplay hook in Antichamber is attempting to figure out the game’s logic which is a challenge, but ultimately intensely rewarding. I did not solve all the puzzles in the game, and I am thankful that I did not have to finish them all to get to the ending. Several of them are nothing short of devilish. Antichamber certainly owes a lot to Valve’s Portal. Both being first-person puzzles games makes it easy to compare the two; the brevity of both games also invites comparison. Each game has its own defining characteristics, but Antichamber’s are much harder to describe. Portal offers one idea and presents it near flawlessly. Antichamber has multiple layers of complexity that build as one progresses through the game. So one might be “finally thinking in portals,” in Antichamber only to have another complex idea thrown at the player. This adds depth and the ability to have more mind-bending puzzles that do not have to only rely on one mechanic, but the entire complex is full of different puzzles and the player is not even sure if he or she can even complete a puzzle at first glance. The confusion is worth the effort however, and when it clicks how a puzzle works it is a priceless feeling attained by few games.
Here’s the map:
Antichamber is a wonderful experience highlighted by brain teasers grounded in the games layered internal logic that provides immense satisfaction upon completion. I found the game to tricky, but not too tough. It is likely that breaks will be necessary for most players and some time will need to pass in order for a puzzle to sink in, or even to realize if one can solve that specific puzzle at that time. Some might consider the confusion caused by not knowing when puzzles are solvable as a flaw, but I found it to be a strength. It contributes to the overall experience that is Antichamber and it adds to the satisfaction upon completion. Antichamber is a great game and is worth playing for anyone who wants something creative, refreshing, new, and likes puzzles.
BADGP: 8.5 out of 10
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