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Gameverse | October 23, 2017

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Antichamber Review

Jordan

//A matter of perspective

By: Jordan Happach

The way we view the world is the culmination of our experiences and feelings which we have grown and become attached to as we grow older. As we see patterns over the course of our lives, we develop a lens through which we look at everything. This is called a world view. Something similar exists in the language of video games as we become complacent and expect a game world to function very similarly to the real one.

This paradigm is shattered with Antichamber. The core of the game is focused around defying the expectations and general rules of the physical world. It is a puzzle game with the emphasis placed on traversal though rooms with mind-bending non-Euclidian design. In laymen’s terms this means what you see is not necessarily what exists. Objects and walls may appear or disappear out from underneath the player seemingly out of nowhere but there is always a defined path and a way back to your original location with the helpful main map menu accessible at any time. It is a crucial feature of the game, which would be extremely frustrating if not unplayable without. As the player makes their way through the environments, which are generally white with key primary colors to direct their attention to certain area, they will come across weapons’ which build upon each other in their functionality. The projectiles are cubes which the player uses to solve the various puzzles in the game. From creating bridges to unlocking doors, blocks are the answer to the games sometimes backwards appearing solutions. The end result can be gratifying but also hard fought and finicky specifically with the platforming which is needed at different points.

There is no narrative and barely even a premise throughout the game aside from insightful signs along the way that could have a much more transcendent meaning apart from just helping the player get past a specific room. In general, there is a very minimalistic look and feel to everything in the game which lets the player focus on the mechanics and helps them understand when the world has altered it’s state, even if they do not know how or why. Without saying too much, it’s a shame the game doesn’t make good on a more meaningful ending either.

Overall there is a trial and error nature to the game. This is by design but can also leave the player feeling that some things are unexplained. Personally I found it a mix of excitement and aggravation depending on the situation.

Ultimately, the way one approaches this game is subject to how willing one is to give in to the rules of the world, however nonsensical they may at first seem. As with all things in life and in this case the game, it’s a matter of perspective. 3/5