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|ESRB rating: RP
release date: 2013
|» All About Antichamber on ActionTrip|
Many people continue to complain about the state of the industry and how it is submerged by generic shooters and tedious action games. Still, we are constantly to swimming towards the surface for a breath of fresh air, so to speak. Let’s face it, many IPs are being watered down and stripped of their originality even as we speak. We see this occurring with every passing month, as more and more developers and publishers hop aboard the franchise-milking bandwagon.
Too many cubes. It's cube overload.
I've thought about this, and I still don't know what to do...
In recent years, however, new and eager game designers seek other ways to push their products via independent development studios. Enter game designer Alexander Bruce, who steps bravely onto the gaming scene with his FPS puzzle game, Antichamber. The idea was to take gamers on a unique journey as they go through one baffling brain-teaser after another. Yes, that’s what this game can be: bloody baffling. There’s no story and the game doesn’t have any characters. The purpose is to keep moving from chamber to chamber and think your way out any predicament that’s placed before you.
The game starts off by sending the player down a corridor, where the only way to progress is by solving the problem at hand. The puzzles in the beginning are quite simple, albeit well-thought-out and quite original. This is the part where Antichamber shines. You rarely know what to expect. There’s always some mystery involved. As you progress, the challenge gradually increases. However, this game isn’t merely about solving puzzles. When you actually solve a problem, you don’t get points or anything like that. Taking a more philosophical approach, the game just makes you ponder a bit more if you fail. Failing denotes learning from your mistakes. So, just think before you leap and try again.
Exploring the hallways and rooms of Antichamber holds many surprises. As I’ve said, the game doesn’t exactly shower you with prizes if you solve a puzzle. What it does sometimes is place you in front of an even greater challenge. The game twists things around when you least expect it. Just when you think you’ve reached a solution, the ground shifts beneath your feet and everything turns upside down. You’ll be scratching your head more than once on this ride. Although it may prove to be a tad frustrating for some people, the game effectively stimulates you to think rather than making rash decisions. The game can also toss bigger problems your way even when you’re doing well, thus keeping the gameplay dynamic and fresh almost constantly.
Before long you’ll be able to get your hands on a weird gravity gun that lets you manipulate tiny cubes that are scattered throughout the area. Cubes are used to open doors and gates, so in most instances grabbing these guns are essential to unlocking other parts of Antichamber. Altogether there are four types of guns, each required to solve particular puzzles to gain access to specific areas.
Oh great, now I'm starting to see things.
No, this game is not about mushrooms.
Playing Antichamber is a test of intelligence, not just reaction time. Inventive challenges and overall solid gamepay mechanics are complemented by visual simplicity and slick design. Adding layers of soothing ambient sound effects like gushes of wind, water trickling and birds chirping in the distance will accompany players as they dash through the numerous passages of Antichamber. The fitting ambient music can also be heard in the background, which marks another tasteful move by the developer. Occasional moments of frustration might ensue if you fail to solve a puzzle on time and as a result you might be forced to begin an entire section again. In other words, yeah, there’s a bit of trial and error here. Apart from that, there were a few graphical glitches here and there (chamber walls and cubes flicker etc.), although these issues were sporadic and not very bothersome.
Despite a few minor issues, we encourage you to put your intellect to the test in Anitchamber. This is a rare gem among modern-day games. It proves that even the simplest concept can be pushed beyond the limits few people dare to explore. It’s a valiant experiment and one that has brought some truly satisfying results. Enjoying Antichamber involves challenging your mind and with each step the challenge becomes greater and more fun.
Creative, mysterious, thought-provoking and bloody good fun.
Might be a bit too taxing for the impatient, minor graphical issues.
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