Particulars is not a game for everyone, and that's a good thing. Often we see game developers try to please the masses and in doing so please no one. The team at SeeThrough Studios have chosen to create a game they wanted to create and this becomes clearly evident as you experience Particulars.
Particulars explores unexplored territory with very strong writing in an arcade-action puzzle game, never have I played a puzzle game of this difficulty and actually been drawn into the story. You experience feelings of futility as you realise the actions you're performing in the game are on such a microscopic scale that in the grand scheme of things they have no effect. The interactive nature of the game enhances this and helps you realise how our main character feels and you're able to see correlations between the subatomic world and the world which our main character lives in.
While it may seem simple at first, as you delve deeper into the story you start to see connections between the story and gameplay, and as the story intensifies so does the difficulty of the puzzle. As the game progresses the need for good puzzle solving and solid execution of the puzzles is needed, this is because of the games arcade-action nature where everything happens so fast and all your actions have a passive effect on everything around you.
If you're not afraid to use your brain for a couple of hours Particulars is the game for you, with its strong storytelling and its surprisingly difficult puzzles this game is easily worth the price of admission.
Full Release - All the small issues have been cleaned up, the game feels ultra smooth and its aesthetic has been improved. I'll update the review when I finish the game now that it's out of Early Access.
31 of 36 people (86%) found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
11.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
A truly innovative take on games as a medium for telling stories, particulars is the story of a particle physicist looking inwards.
The main gameplay is an arcade style particle physics simulation - essentially marbles with magnets, explosions and puzzles. You don't need to know any science to play though, because the game teaches you everything experientially as you go.
Between levels, we see glimpses into the life of Allison, our deeply flawed but nonetheless inspiring protagonist. It seems that she's very good at particle physics, and would rather run simulations than deal with the strife and hardship that has beset her personal life.
You follow her emotional journey. Step by step unravelling clues of her life and psyche... all the while you play as her, running the simulation. In this way the game is a metaphor, as you look deeper into the soul of allison she looks deeper into the quantum world. As I said, this is a game about a particle physicist looking inwards.
Allison is an inspiring role model. She teaches us that it's ok to not have all your ♥♥♥♥ together, and that scientists are allowed to be human. Together with her friends and colleagues, this game also normalises the idea of successful women in science (Alison's mentor is female, and gives her career advice. That's right an indie arcade game passes the bechdel test) and shows us that you don't need a barbarian saving a princess to tell a compelling story. Like seriously, this game normalises both the idea of a female protagonist, and the idea of a scientist protagonist - these characters are just compellingly HUMAN, and a refreshing change from the testosterone charged male-jock protagonists most games present.
This game is a must have for science geeks, for anyone who cares about portrayal of women in media, and for anyone who wants to see games used as a medium for telling stories. Or for anyone who wants their kids to have positive attitudes towards any of those things.
23 of 26 people (88%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 7, 2015
After beating this game, I have to say the effort of beating it, totally not worth that ending. The story itself is given in snippets after each level, and after a set you get a short cutscene. At first I thought this was a brilliant way of cluing people in on the story without being heavy-fisted about it, but some of the cutscenes repeat with tiny little details changed, and it gets a little confusing as to whether or not your game is broken at that point.
As for gameplay, you start out only having to deal with positive and negative fields. This is a simple mechanic, and it continues for a few sets before you learn something new about the game. By the end you'll have come across several different mechanics over time, which are interesting in their own right but some of the level layouts or rather...bad. You have to either clear out particles by making them smash into each other, or move a certain type of particle to a location. The problem comes when you start doubling up on forces you have to deal with. When massive particles are flying towards you constantly, and you have to precisely hit them to send them flying off to an exact place without yourself getting pulled in...the cluster of different forces makes it nigh impossible to effectively move, and by the end of the game it feels like random chance.
You shouldn't have to fight against the controls of a game to beat it. In the last few levels it took probably thirty-fourtyfive minutes each. Fine, some games that's normal. But this game puts you in a little arena against set entities to interact with. It probably takes five-ten minutes to figure out the puzzle, and after that it's just a frustrating journey of fighting against the game's forces to try and accomplish the goal you KNOW how to do but can't because of apparent randomness of the particles.
That said, this game isn't randomized. Like, at all. It's just the gravity-like attractions mean that if you're two pixels over from how you were last time, the ENTIRE board can suddenly shift around and end up moving in a completely different way than how it did before. So you have to be picture-perfect to get some of the levels completed, and even then it still feels like you just have to plain get lucky.
The story is fairly simple, but delivered in a delightful way. But the difficulty of some of the later levels in each set is pretty damn stupid, it feels like you're trying to break through a wall with a wooden spoon, while you're on fire. The beginning of the game? Very simple, a child could probably do the first set of levels or two and get a fair grasp at the science behind it. It's actually really relaxing towards the beginning, and mashing particles together in a sandbox is actually really fun. But when you have a specific goal to do, and that goal requires super precise timing in a game where you have to fight just to keep from moving, it's super frustrating.
It's a beautifully crafted game. The visuals are sleek, the science behind it is rock solid, and the transitions are really beautiful. In fact, if it wasn't for the difficulty being absolute trash at some points I would highly recommend this game. As is, the repeating cutscenes and frustrating gameplay are so bad I simply can't recommend it. Unless you just REALLY want a hardcore physics-based particle game, you probably shouldn't get this.
Take this review with a GRAIN OF SALT, and please READ AT LEAST the TL;DR at the bottom or watch the full video to understand the problems of Particulars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE4GXdja_AM So let us take Particulars apart and thus delve into the subatomic world of quarks, bosons and the like. As always, I’ll talk about the aesthetics first, which are particularly brilliant. Especially noteworthy is the minimalistic interface. Every particle has its own icon and shading, the goal and timing of a level are indicated in the central area with a circular bar and while all of this might need a couple of minutes of getting used to, it looks amazing. I cannot say the same for the art of the cutscenes however, as I feel this drawn comic style is out of place in an environment of minimalistic vector aesthetics. The overall sound design is very good as well. There is a crackling indicator when you are getting too close to a particle than would annihilate you and in general every sound effect is unique and very recognisable in terms of its effect. Overall, the creative choices blend very well to create a surreal subatomic world, excluding the cutscenes. As for the gameplay, I feel I need to fragment this review into two parts, just as I felt game significantly alters in its gameplay after the fifth chapter. The first part of the game is mostly about carrying particles from A to B, destroying other particles or plainly surviving for a set period of time. This feels a lot like an action arcade game with barely any puzzling involved. In the majority of the levels, speed is of the essence, which led to a bunch of frustration for me. Controlling fast paced particles into their target area, with other anti-particles flying about the place, which obviously are also attracted to their counterpart and kill it instantly on contact, felt like I had little chance of actually impacting the outcome. Thus many levels, even after completion, seemed as if I relied heavily on random chance instead of personal skill and overall Particulars feels rather unrewarding. This critique almost ended up being a pure ranting on fast paced twitch-heavy gameplay with a sluggish player particle. Luckily most of the game’s levels are skippable, however for some reason excluding the last level of each chapter. Once you completed chapter five, you’ll delve into what feels like a completely different game with the same skin on top. Your particle now receives the ability to change, essentially switching the family and spewing out a W with the respective charge of the originating particle. Sounds complicated? Well, I do consider my physics knowledge to be as weak as a biochemist’s knowledge about physics can be, which is essentially non-existent and suffice to say, I have a really hard time understanding what is going on. Particulars tries to remedy the complication a bit by providing a pause menu, which gives you all details about subatomic particle transformation. After working through this encyclopaedia for a couple of times, you can get at least a slight grasp of what is going on. Nonetheless, compared to the action oriented gameplay beforehand, the game now plays essentially like a puzzle game, that requires you to think something through first and afterwards additionally asks you to execute the presumed solution in a rather complicated environment, meaning that even if you understand what you are supposed to be doing, it is not given that you will succeed in the first, second or even third try. Therein lies my main gripe with Particulars. As mentioned previously, I either like playing fast-paced platformers with a very tight control scheme along the lines of Super Meat Boy or Spelunky or very deep, mechanical puzzle games like SpaceChem. Particulars tries to mix the action, twitch-paced gameplay with a bunch of thinking and while the subatomic puzzling is difficult and satisfying when understood, working towards the solution can be frustrating, especially if you know exactly what to do, but fail to execute it properly. In terms of controls, I found the keyboard controls to be okay, however due to the only eight directional digital movement, some levels are harder than they need to be. Therefore I recommend a controller for playing, which however also has the downside that when inspecting particles in the pause menu, using the right analog stick to move around is painfully slow.
TL;DR My conclusion of Particulars is, that this game is just not for me, even as a scientist. While the physics in Particulars seem solid and you can surely learn more than a thing or two during the gaming experience, I personally do not like the combination of fast-paced, sluggish movements with puzzling as I get frustrated when I figured out the solution but fail to execute it. Similarly to my earlier critique of Luna’s Wandering Stars, games like these are just not for me. If you are amongst the people to enjoy these kinds of games however, you should definitely check Particulars out, as it is a very insightful exploratory experience into the world of subatomic particles.
The game is both pleasant to interact with and meaningful, it even could teach you something about the composition of the atom without you knowing it! Some friend gives a depressive scientifically obsessed girl a garage particle collider (looks like an arcade machine) to experiment with, and thus to have the needed psychotherapy for she thinks that the subatomic particles are exactly like people - some can't live togather & some die without each other.. there are also UP's & DOWN's between the quarks and she has to reproduce in her memory, reenact some situations which gave her trauma. So we have here 3 things togather: 1. a nice magnetic arcade of colliding discs 2. a laconical introspective melodrama 3. a comprehansive visual encyclopedia of contemporary subatomic theory A definite YES!
Игра приятная на ощупь и глубокомысленная, она даже способна дать вам представление о составе атомного ядра без вашего ведома! Один друг предоставляет депрессивной помешанной на науке девушке гаражный ускоритель частиц (выглядит как игровой автомат) для проведения экспериментов и, через это, прохождения психотерапии, так как девушка уверена, что субатомные частицы - точь-в-точь как люди - кто-то не может ужиться, а кто-то погибает в разлуке... у кварков также существуют ВЕРХНИЕ и НИЖНИЕ в отношениях, и ей предстоит воспроизвести в памяти и перепрожить травматические ситуации. Итак мы имеем сразу три вещи: 1. милую магнетическую аркаду про сталкновения кружочков 2. лаконичную интроспективную мелодраму 3. доступную наглядную энциклопедию современной теории атома Определенно ДА!
Such an abstract and amazing concept for a game. I definitely recommend supporting the developer as the mechanics are very causual(easy to get into), and the dialogue/quotes/narration in the game are incredibly well placed and fantastically done. It is very similar to spacechem in what it achieves.
24 of 40 people (60%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2014
I had heard Particulars compared favourably to Spacechem, which I regard as hands-down the best puzzle game ever made, so I was interested to see what it had in store. A big difference between the two titles (aside from their fundamental gameplay being completely dissimilar) is that Spacechem requires absolutely no pre-existing knowledge of chemistry, and what little knowledge it does require is clearly explained as the game progresses. Particulars assumes a basic level of familiarity with particle physics, which I do not have, as its efforts to explain the concepts it introduces are half-hearted at best.
The first few levels work on the basis of opposite particles attracting one another and colliding. Anybody can follow along with this. However as the game progresses and you need to absorb, mutate, eject particles into both other particles and yourself to be re-absorbed, broken apart, annihilated, so on and so forth, there is almost no effort taken to explain how this works. Consequently I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. None. I simply pressed buttons and flew my particle around the screen performing these actions until I eventually stumbled upon the winning combination. This was not trial and error so much as pure luck. Trial and error would actually be somewhat acceptable, however as the game operates on a chaotic plane, with particles quickly flying into one another and exploding or mutating, trial and error is not really possible. To succeed on any level beyond luck, you need to know exactly what you're doing so you can perform the task quickly enough.
There is a very original, compelling game to be found here, however until and unless a tutorial which assumes complete scientific ignorance on the player's behalf is implemented, I cannot possibly recommend this to a layperson.
This is game simplistic and enjoyable. There are a few things that i don't know if are suppose to be that way or not, but all the problems are not in the game play and in more of hte cutscenes and vanity stuff like voice overs. The game play is easy to learn and it enjoy able. But what i find impressive is that the gameolay isn't connected to a plot but there are quotations and brief cutscenes that are impactful and paint a pretty clear picture of the main characters life, it may be simple quotations and cutscenes but they are impactful enough to make me sad and almost in tears. it is trully a game to play and it will make you feel.
This polished early access title lets you control one particle to guide others to safety or destruction while avoiding being annihilated yourself. A narrative is interleaved with the puzzles; although some artwork is incomplete, I found it engaging, especially in combination with the lovely soundtrack. I've been very happy with the purchase.
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 4, 2015
Now that Particulars is out of the early access that left a tainted first impression, I've managed to give it another spare moment of my time. The game provides some unique sub-atomic gameplay. You don't necessarily need to understand the underlying particle physics and I don't know how much of the interactions are real physics and how much are just there to make it a playable game, but it does result in a fair amount of trial-an-error gameplay that can be both educational and fun.
The last level that introduces black holes creates a difficulty imbalance from the rest of the game and if you don't have a good grasp of the process of making the right particles from the earlier levels, these later levels will be nearly impossible to pass without skipping.
While the story dialog feels extremely erratic, jumping forward and backward in time, the gameplay is original and for that it is definitely worth a try.