PAX Prime 2011: Quantum Conundrum

Airtight Games has been creating a pretty cool little title, called Quantum Conundrum. In QC you’ll be playing in a massive mansion that actually serves as your uncle’s lab. Your uncle is a quirky mad scientist named Professor Quadwrangle who’s now trapped in another dimension. It’s your job to rescue him using his IDS (inter-dimensional shift) device. The game has a pretty funny set up; it reminded me of what Portal might have been like if Pixar had made the game, and not the folks at Valve. The game itself plays almost exactly like Portal (not that that’s a bad thing), with just the game’s aesthetics being the only real difference. That, and its sense of humor is much lighter and sillier at times than Portal. This should all be unsurprising, as one of the main developers at Airtight Games is Kim Swift, who helped create the first Portal.

In Quantum Conundrum you’ll be faced with puzzles, both cerebral and physics based. You’ll navigate through rooms similar to the “test chambers” found in Portal, only this time you’ll get some help from a vault that spits out safes in hilarious fashion.  The safes work in a similar way to the boxes found in Portal, but here you can use the IDS to shift dimensions into, but not limited to, the “fluffy” dimension. When you do a dimensional shift you’ll not only be affecting the physics of the game (in this case making things ten times lighter), you’ll be affecting the world around you, which can be laugh out loud funny at times. One example I saw was of a picture of Professor Quadwrangle on the wall change in each dimensional shift to something different. In the “fluffy” dimension he will appear in a bunny suit.

The game has a lot of cute and funny features spread throughout.  In the very short demo I saw, I probably laughed out loud more than a handful of times at little details. When I asked about how the story was told, they said that it will mostly be doled out by Professor Quadwrangle speaking through an intercom in the house, though you will not see him (remind you of something?).

Again I’ll point out that what I did see was not that far from Portal, but the game’s look is very different, and its themes are much more light-hearted. The fact that it is so similar to Portal in playstyle can only serve the game well, and I’m sure what I did see was just the tip of a puzzle-laden iceberg. The game is supposed to run about 6 hours, and will be downloadable for the PS3, 360 and PC in 2012. Quantum Conundrum has a lot going for it, most of all it’s sense of humor and lineage. If you’re looking for something like Portal, or you love getting a good laugh, I would check this out as soon as it launches. I know I will. You can check out the launch trailer and some other tid-bits over at the official site.

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