Portal has always been a legendary game in my head. I have wanted to play the Portal series of games, ever since I came across the meme “The cake is a lie”
This vacation, I was lucky enough to be gifted this game. And to my joy, the game lives up to its legend.
Portal is essentially a puzzle solving game, with puzzles getting harder and harder as the game progresses. But the game is a lot more than just that. The game presents you with a physics sandbox of sorts, with the ability to create and play around with “portals”, man sized quantum tunneling teleportation gates. For the layman, put a portal on this wall, put a portal on another wall, walk into this wall, and come out of the other wall.
The setting of the game has a significant effect on the gameplay. You wake up to find yourself in a well maintained, pretty testing facility, guided by a seemingly well-meaning voice promising cake and a party at the end of the tests. As you progress, you find evidence which suggests that all is not as it seems.
The game employs the use of a lot of dark humor. For example, in a test chamber with toxic goo on the floor, the guiding AI will let you know, in an unsettlingly light tone
The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice. For instance: the floor here will kill you. Try to avoid it.
Or, when the AI feels naughty, it will let you know :
Due to mandatory scheduled maintenance, the next test is currently unavailable. It has been replaced with a live-fire course designed for military androids. The Enrichment Center apologizes and wishes you the best of luck.
In the final parts of the game, you begin to feel a pressing need to just keep moving forward, and above all, to survive, mostly by the clever use of portals. The game does a very good job of building up from a comfortable “testing” environment, and then suddenly pushing you into a survival situation, almost changing the genre of the game.
My only complaint with Portal is that the campaign felt too short. The regular campaign only takes about 3 hours to complete. There are challenge versions of some tests included in the game, but so far, I haven’t been able to complete them.
Portal comes as a highly recommended game if you enjoy dark/sarcastic humor and puzzle solving. And if you are anything like me, you will like it better for its humor than its puzzles.
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