Antichamber befuddles with nonlinear gameplay

THE PLAYER STRUGGLES with the dilemma of how to obtain the green gun, locked behind a pane of glass. While playing the game, one may find oneself wondering, “How did I get here? What am I doing?”

I recently picked up Antichamber on Steam. Antichamber is an exploratory puzzle game in which one runs around with a strangely-shaped gun that can manipulate space … sound familiar? And yet, at the same time, Antichamber is like the much more complex conjugate of Portal in its concept. While Portal involves the traversal of a Euclidean world via non-Euclidean means, Antichamber contains a non-Euclidean world of bizarre and twisting, yet straight hallways, stairs, and rooms that one traverses in a Euclidean manner. And the gun, rather than making portals, is used to pick up and then place small blocks that are used in the puzzles found throughout the game.

I was too busy getting frustrated with Antichamber’s difficult, yet incredibly fun puzzles to notice many particular problems with the game beyond a single, tiny glitch; yet, looking back, I did realize one very major thing: the game does not exactly have amazing graphics. Given how long I played it in each sitting, I also had one other issue: I would get a headache from trying to figure the game out. That said, the non-Euclidean nature of the game is incredibly disorienting; I’m not very surprised.

Despite those small issues, I would rate this as my second favorite game (the best being Doukutsu Monogatari, otherwise known as Cave Story) I’ve ever had the opportunity to play in my entire life. It is a beautifully-constructed puzzle game. Steadily learning more and more about the confusing labyrinth that makes up the game, I’d walk exclusively forward with no turns, only to come back to where I started, confused. And yet, I would keep on going. In some cases, my solutions to the puzzles got ridiculous; I had one puzzle that I solved by gathering a large stack of blocks and then making a tower underneath myself, Minecraft-style. The weirdest aspect of the game for me was realizing that there were areas I could just walk over, despite there not being a floor there.

I almost never pay very much for PC games. It is a rule of mine when getting PC games that I will take the price into account very strictly so I don’t fall into any overspending on games. In fact, there have only been three computer games for which I’ve ever paid more than $10. These were one of the Assassin’s Creed games at $17, Minecraft at 15 euros, and Antichamber at $20. Out of said three games, I’d say Antichamber was the most worth it by far. Antichamber is an amazing game, and I would certainly recommend it to anybody.

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