Gaming Week 18: Antichamber (PC)

YOU GO UP!

Does this mean I have to go down?

I’ve wanted to play Antichamber since I first ever laid eyes on it about 2 years ago. It looked so different, and so fantastically intelligent, that I just wanted to experience this new way of gaming. It doesn’t go so far as to invent any new ways of gaming, but intelligently pushes you to the limits, ensuring you poke and prod the game environment until you understand its rules, and as a result, feel empowered in this puzzle world.

You start Antichamber in a black empty room, with no context as to where you are, and what to do. You spin your mouse around to discover you’re in first person view. From here you can then adjust the settings of your computer using a wall, and just clicking the elements you want to change. Its a pretty nifty way of doing things, and I feel it’s quite intelligent game design to show the player how to control your character silently, and very early; allowing the player to find out things through trial and error rather then assuming every player is dumb and show controls up front.

Once you’ve got to grips with the controls, it then allows you to select a room, which as you find out, is a puzzle in itself. Every room in this game is a puzzle, in fact, many puzzles  within puzzles, and it all screws with your head. You’re never quite sure if you’re just not looking hard enough, or whether you haven’t progressed far enough in the game to apply new skills you’ve learnt to old puzzles.

MY HEAD! IT HURTSSSS

Perspective 1 of a scene

IT FUCKS WITH YOUR HEAD MANNNN

Perspective 2 of the same scene

The first few rooms ease you into the style of how Antichamber will play out, and then will successfully turn that on its head to mess with you. It does all have a set of rules/boundaries, which you will come to know with time, although at the start this may feel like a lie, push through and you’ll get to understand the world in which Antichamber inhabits. Rooms may continue forever until you just turn around and come back the way you came, where as others may look like a dead end in a certain light. It’s all fantastically designed to mess with your mind as much as you can take.

Eventually you’ll come across a gun, but not any gun you’ve seen in other games. This gun picks up and disperses cubes, something which expands the puzzle element of the game no end. Cubes need to be placed in certain holes to open doors, whilst also being a restrained quantity, which can lead to some very annoying situations of starting a room again just so you can allocate your cubes correctly. The gun gets updated 4 more times in the game, allowing more creative ways to manipulate cubes, whilst also allowing you to revisit previous rooms to try and solve problems again. It’s a fantastic way to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something with every few minutes, whilst also being annoyed that you didn’t see it sooner.

SO HARDDD

After 5 hours of play time, this was the amount of puzzles I had solved. There’s still more to go.

Pros:

  • Fantastic puzzles that really do mess with your head
  • Gorgeously realised art style

Cons:

  • No story makes for confusing motivation
  • Little to no replayability after completion due to knowing all the solutions

So I waited until this game came on sale to buy it, (£7.49) but in hindsight, £15 is actually pretty good value for the time I got out of Antichamber, and given the chance, I’d happily recommend it for all to play.

4/5

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