This week's edition of The Vault is sponsored by... I forget the name. I think it was Opening Science or something like that. Anyways, today we're featuring a selection of Portalesque games. A Portalesque is a puzzle-platformer with a unique mechanic and a sadistic host. Such games include Revive, Qoosh, and the games below. There'll be cake after the showcase, I promise!
- My First Quantum Translocator - Now this is as Portalesque as Portalesques can get without being Portal itself. In this classic from Cellar Door Games, you're tasked with testing the Quantum Translocator 4300, which involves dropping shadows and warping directly to them. Momentum is conserved during a warp, which allows for some creative puzzles. Of course, Steve might not be intending to let you go unscathed once you're done testing... anyways, the game has an excellent difficulty curve, exploiting the QT's mechanics in every way possible, and the pixel visuals and chiptune soundtrack don't fail to charm. The plot's anything but original, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
- Never End - Okay, so there's no sadistic host in this one by Zlong Games, but it's definitely got everything else a Portalesque needs: a faceless protagonist, a clever gimmick, and lots of deadly spikes. You have to jump, run, and rotate the world to get through every room, collecting keys to unlock doors until you reach one of the maze's four exits. You'd be amazed at how thoroughly the gimmick of world rotation is used, crafting all sorts of puzzles involving huge blocks that need to be arranged in just the right way with careful turns. Although the controls are questionable, the atmosphere is breathtakingly simplistic, and the notes you find along the way really help to fill things in. As for the sadistic host... well, what humane host would set up that many spikes and deadly obstacles everywhere?
- Tower of Heaven - Don't act so surprised! Not every Portalesque has to take place in a science lab! Born as a downloadable game but later ported to Flash, Askiisoft's Tower of Heaven places you in the shoes of a dark figure who decides to climb a tower guarded by a disembodied voice... who constantly makes new "rules" for you to follow at the risk of being annihilated by divine lightning. Rules like "don't touch golden blocks" and "don't walk to the left". As if it wasn't hard enough with all the spikes and saw blades everywhere! This game's even more retro than average with graphics that literally look like they belong on an old Game Boy, and although it doesn't have that many levels, the game's high difficulty means they'll take a while to clear. There's even a level editor in case the canon levels weren't torturous enough!
As per usual, comments about the weekly feature itself can go here, but comments about the games themselves should go on their respective review pages. Thank you for that, and go rediscover some good games. Oh and one more thing: we haven't had a chance to install the deadly electric traps in the hallways yet, so if you step on or otherwise touch a surface marked in yellow, please shake like a maniac, drop to the ground, and die. Thank you.