So a new batch of games were just released on Steam, and amongst the indie titles was something very intriguing indeed. From across the Internet, Antichamber called to me, seduced me; my inner dementia wanted to know what sadistic delight this puzzling title held. No sooner than I saw the introductory discount, I had bought it. It was mine. I didn’t want to play it, I wanted it to play me, and that it did.
There’s something appealing about white room puzzlers. The emptiness, the solitude, a world that moves around you as you interact with it. New areas exposed, old areas changed, nothing is ever at it seems. Portal brought us something new and much delight was had. Q.U.B.E. came with similar stylings but offered a very different design and interaction. Antichamber can be seen as a combination of both; Portal‘s interactive world, where nothing is as it seems, and Q.U.B.E.‘s block management and colorful aesthetics.
Antichamber wants you to interact with the world in a very different way, with child-like exploration. Doors that only appear when you look at them, corridors that lead you back to where you started, floors that have a mind of their own, stairs that climb up but take you down. Rational thinking won’t help you here, logic will deceive you, but observation is paramount.
Some puzzles have fixed solutions, others can be completed in a near infinite number of ways. As you progress through, you revisit old areas, but things have changed; running in circles, chasing your own tail while the walls around you, and your brain, melt. To help comfort you on your journey, there are helpful quotes that dot the walls, to encourage you, to sympathize, and to down right deceive.
You can peruse the video below to get a feel for the game; just bare in mind that since this is a puzzle dependent game, it will be littered with spoilers.
As with most puzzle games, once you figure out how to solve a particular problem, that’s it. However, even Antichamber has a few tricks up its sleeve, since how you solve a problem depends upon at what stage in the game you are in; new tools unlock new sections of the same area.
It all starts as an exploration piece, moving in the right (wrong) direction to move forwards. Later, you are exposed to colored blocks that can be manipulated with some kind of handheld device that’s not made by Aperture Science. Soon you are putting blocks where they shouldn’t go in a vein attempt to progress. Building walls, destroying them, worming blocks through mazes, using them as doorstops, multiplying, getting lost – then you realize that you just spent 10 minutes fighting with logic, when you could have just gone through a hidden passage.
Antichamber is currently available on Steam at 25% off till February 6th. It’s a fantastic game and well worth picking up if you’re into puzzles. Now, if only anti-aliasing could be enabled!