|Post Date: 07:07 16-03-2014
Comment: Before I actually tried playing Antichamber, I was quite excited. For some reason, I like games where you have to come up with a solution to progress in a game, and this seemed to be one of them. Excited and expectant, I started the game for the first time hoping for something brilliant.
Early in Antichamber you walk into a room with two staircases. One of them is blue and leads upwards; the other one is red and leads downward. It doesn’t matter which you choose though, because whichever you choose, you will still come to the same room that you just were in, with the same two staircases to choose between once again. Only when you turn around and trudge backwards, the solution to it is revealed. From this direction, the hallway doesn’t lead to the staircase that you just went up for, but instead on to a completely different room.
In such moments, the indie developer Alexander Bruce’s debut game is very fascinating. Antichamber is a stylized play with perspective, geometry and impossible angles, reminiscent of artists such as Oscar Reutersvärd, who created the Penrose triangle, and MC Escher. The graphics of the game might not be the most advanced that I’ve seen, but it’s more than acceptable. The game is in many moments, almost just white, but it’s not something that comes up in your mind if you’re actually playing the game and tries to pass a mind puzzle.
The game is consistently very smartly designed, which is both its strength and weakness. At first, the experience feels surprising when you wander around randomly without even understanding how things in the game work. The obscure clues that are scattered in the game world is rarely helpful for you. Instead, it rather reinforces the feeling that the game’s creator most of all would like to show his own cleverness instead. Towards the end, it appears block puzzles of more familiar characters instead. These are less interesting from a design perspective, but works better in the game.
Overall, Antichamber is as original as an unpolished experience. Rarely have so many strange ideas, for better or worse, have been incorporated into the same puzzle game. Although the game itself didn’t take too long to complete (about nine hours for me), I don’t think that they should have made it longer. It feels good as it is, and if they were to add some additional puzzles to the game, I think it might have been a little too much, since in my opinion; mind games shouldn’t be too long.
Personally, I still think that Antichamber was a lot of fun, and I really did enjoy the game. But the biggest problem is that some people don’t really like games where you have to think a lot in order to progress, and some might even give up on the game, if they can’t get past a puzzle. But for those that really likes mind tricking games, this is definitely a game that I can recommend.