Everyone's wished that they had superpowers at one time or another. Flying would be a great way to bypass the morning commute, for instance, and super strength would make household chores a piece of cake. My First Quantum Translocator, a new puzzling platformer from Cellar Door Games, blows away these mundane fantasies by gifting players with the power to control time itself! Take that, morning commute.
As a new employee at an unnamed R&D lab it's your job to test the Quantum Translocator 4300. This miraculous device allows you to "store" your position in time and return to it whenever you please. You'll use it to get through a gauntlet of tests and challenges, learning more about the mysterious lab and your handler Steve in the process.
Control your character with the [arrow] keys. Place a quantum shadow, which represents your location at a given point in time, with the [W] key, and press the [spacebar] to warp back to that shadow, maintaining any momentum in the process and killing you if you accidentally warp into a solid object. Press [F] to automatically jump and warp at the same time, performing a Tele-jump that will let you reach great heights. (The latest version of the game, which wasn't available at the time of this writing, allows the character to be controlled with the [numpad] or [arrow] keys, shadows to be placed with [Q] or [W] and Tele-jumps to be performed with [D] or [F].)
Quantum warping might seem like a simple mechanic after you've done some experimenting with it, but My First Quantum Translocator pulls out all the stops and sets up some brain-bending puzzles. You'll have to make seemingly impossible leaps, dodge murderous moving walls and avoid being smashed in any number of ways. Thankfully, you've got unlimited lives, but it almost makes you think that there's some sort of sinister undercurrent to these lab tests...
Analysis: My First Quantum Translocator will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the award-winning Valve game Portal (or, more accurately, Portal: The Flash Version) because, well, it's basically exactly the same game with a different physics-bending gimmick. The plot and setting win no awards for originality, in other words, so it comes down to the game's unique mechanic to set it apart.
Thankfully, Cellar Door Games went all out in creating puzzles that exploit the potential of quantum warping. There's a real sense of accomplishment when one manages to solve a seemingly impossible problem through the clever use of warping, and it's this sort of positive reinforcement that gives the game its appeal. There's also a method of skipping levels that prove to be too difficult to figure out, so it's possible for anyone to finish the game.
Unfortunately, that skipping feature might see a bit too much use, as some of the puzzles are truly fiendish. The last few puzzles at the end of the game, for instance, are amazingly difficult and will probably crush some hopes and dreams by forcing players to skip them. A little restraint on the part of the developers would have been nice. Thankfully there's no complaints regarding the fundamentals such as hit detection and control; everything is nice and accurate, so none of your many deaths will feel "cheap."
Despite the unbalanced difficulty, My First Quantum Translocator is a great example of how to exploit the potential of a unique game mechanic. Instead of just opening the player's imagination to the possibilities of quantum warping, the game brings those possibilities to life. Let's hope that future games with the same theme follow its lead.