Posted: September 15
In theory this is a game I should like. In fact, I WANTED to like it. John "Q/News Anchor from Crank" DeLancie as narration, time/space manipulation in a 3D puzzle environment, a distinct visual style, etc.
Here is the problem, and to elaborate, I'm going to have to compare this game to Portal, which a lot of people did on its release due to one of Portal 1's designers (Kim Swift) leaving Valve to work on this title, which is a similar genre, let's be frank. Portal 1 worked because it was brief. It'd do a few things with a tool, then move on to something else, occasionally mashing all your obstacles up for a challenge room/test of what you'd learned. Part of what worked to keep this from getting stale was that you had hints and taunts from your omnipresent narrator/torturer, and part of it came down to the puzzles being tested to a good balance of "solvable but not instantly".
Quantum Conundrum has most of these attributes, but in sort of a "they came back wrong" variety. John DeLancie is playing the same role of narrator/reason for being in this mess, but a lot of his hints are either weirdly couched in ways that you're not going to get them (and you will hear them 5 times as you try to figure them out, too), or just outright irritating. Between stages in the loading bridge areas you'll hear him spout what is basically monkey-cheese randomness about "his" predicament, but there's not much reason to care because he's the dude what trapped you in Deathtrap Manor by accident where he decided to design really, really overzealous laser beams everywhere. (I'm not entirely convinced the lasers work as intended: stuff that's just supposed to destroy items had a tendency to fire right through into my skull more than once, ending my run at a puzzle.) The puzzles are indeed short rooms to solve and then move on to the next "chamber", but there's not much chance at learning them and a few are just straight up blind luck. One in particular springs to mind as it has you choosing two or three different branch points on a conveyer belt and while it IS possible to backtrack on it, it's a real bear and a lot of them lead around corners or to paths you cannot immediately see are dead ends/death.
The other big Portal gripe I'm gonna throw out: in Portal, you get the gun, you get a few rooms of training, and then YOU HAVE THE GUN FULLY OPEN FOREVER. Quantum Conundrum gives you 4 seperate powers, which are clearly controller-mapped given how they show up on a keyboard, and then gives them to you and takes them away randomly from room to room, so that just as you earn something it's out the door for two stages, then you need to find the object in the level to swap it out with the other power, then... The juggling really makes the game more tedious than interesting, when I just want to play around with all these weird reality warping buttons instead of learn about DeLancie's fuzzy multidimensional friend who hid a bunch of barking robots all around the house*.
I did not finish this game. I'm sure some people will bash me for that, but I'll be honest: I got halfway? Most of the way? through the second of four hubs, and when the puzzle was repeating the same "make object light, toss, turn on slow-mo to catch it" gameplay for a third room running, but this time with instadeath pits and sloppy wooden platforms to bounce between... I stopped. I realized that absolutely nothing in this game had any sort of charm or fun factor to keep me going. It wasn't even a CHALLENGING game, so long as you realize "Okay I have two powers what can they do" and "how to avoid lasers".
This has potential, and I'm sure that the writing isn't going to be a turn-off for some, because comedy's amazingly subjective, yadda yadda. I'M going to tell you "this game is a hot mess, avoid", but if you're remotely curious, it drops to like... $4 with all DLC constantly. Why not, it's your money.
* Not a joke.