Actual science is full of the potential for fun, but mad science has it beat in this department, because it doesn't need to abide by the pesky, restrictive rules of reality. Quantum Conundrum's take on interdimensional travel may not hold up to scientific scrutiny, but who cares? This clever first-person puzzle game gives your noggin a satisfying workout. Unfortunately, it sometimes loses its focus in some frustrating sequences that require you to combine dimension-shifting with platforming, but the buzz your brain gets from solving its tricky puzzles makes it worth putting up with these problems.
6383382When the going gets tough, the tough use science.None
You play as the 10-year-old nephew of Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, a scientist whose experiments with interdimensional rifts have gotten him trapped in the dimension where our lost socks, cell phones, and all the other things that mysteriously disappear on us end up. As the nameless kid, you must venture through the outrageously impractical Quadwrangle Manor, whose wings are crammed with dimensional experiments run amok. Professor Quadwrangle's stately voice is provided by actor John de Lancie, and though his dialogue is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, his smug yet jocular attitude makes him a pleasant presence throughout your journey. There's an appealing simplicity to the game's visuals, and the lighthearted sense of humor--the way paintings change to reflect whatever dimension you're currently in, for instance--keeps your predicament from ever feeling like a burden.
Not long after you arrive at the mansion, your uncle's disembodied voice directs you to acquire a glove called the IDS (or interdimensional shift) device. To progress through the manor on your impromptu rescue mission, you must make smart use of four alternate dimensions in addition to the "normal" dimension we all call home. You can be in only one dimension at a time, and the dimensions you have available to you depend on a number of factors, like which part of the manor you're in and which dimensional batteries have been placed in the nearest receptacle.
The first dimension you're introduced to is the fluffy dimension; here, objects around you become light enough to carry and to throw with ease. The applications of shifting into the fluffy realm are easy to grasp. If you need to place a heavy object on a weight-triggered switch, grab a safe in the fluffy dimension, set it down on the switch, and shift back to normal. If a pane of glass stands between you and where you need to go, pick up a fluffy couch, throw it at the window, and return it to normal as it flies through the air, giving it the necessary substance to shatter the glass and let you proceed.
The antigravity dimension is good for making objects travel along the underside of conveyor belts.
There's not a great deal of complexity to the earliest puzzles in which you can only enter and exit this one alternate dimension, but additional dimensions are progressively worked into the mix. The second dimension is referred to as heavy, and here, even the lightest of objects becomes impossible to lift, and even normally flimsy cardboard boxes are invulnerable to the destructive power of the lasers that make many of the manor's chambers so hazardous to your health. You need to make clever use of these dimensions to navigate some dangerous areas, and the first few times you lift a fluffy safe onto a springboard, stand on it, make it heavy, and then make it fluffy again to launch yourself through the air are joyous.