Several months back, on this website that I call a blog, but others may call a self-indulgent shit. I reviewed Antichamber, a game that’s best described as being akin to an M.C. Escher tribute done by a two-year old with a box of dollar store Crayola knock-offs.
It made heavy use of portals to mess with your sense of direction, which was interesting in its own right. But terrible graphics, bad puzzle design, and annoying and a deceptive level layout that disallowed backtracking, killed the game for me.
But one thing always bugged me about Antichamber. Could it be that I just don’t like these kinds of games? The arty, pretentious, first person walk-em-up? Could the only reason I hated the game be because I didn’t get to shoot anything with a gun the size of a car?
That wouldn’t be fair, would it? For me to critique something from a genre I hate. I mean you won’t see me reviewing the latest FIFA title, or some romantic comedy film, or another Tom Clancy novel. Fool me once, you prick.
Now, I could just say that I do like those kinds of games, as long as they’re done right. But even that’s hard to claim when I’ve never really played any game that can compare to Antichamber.
Q.U.B.E. quickly comes to mind. A game about gloves that can send commands to various objects in the world around you. But that game reminded me more of Portal, with its stark white environments, and relatively coherent narrative. It doesn’t really fit with the feel Antichamber tried to provoke.
So that’s a bad comparison. One would need to find a game that’s more surreal, more abstract, and more about the experience than anything else. Perhaps a game like Kairo. An abstract, and surreal odyssey that did what Antichamber failed to do: Be good. Continue reading