Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review: Portal

Portal is a puzzle game created by Valve and the group of students who developed Narbacular Drop. The game uses the source engine and was released on the steam platform. Portal's difficulty depends on the player, a logical and patient player should have little to medium difficulty solving Portal's puzzles. Portal has a sequel that extends gameplay and story; Portal 2 review coming soon.

The story unfolds in the high tech Aperture Science Laboratory. Waking from hibernation into a small room, a robot voice instructs you on the science of portals. It doesn't take long before you are flying through the air and solving neat puzzles. Falling is an inevitable hazard within the numerous testing chambers. Luckily, the player is equipped with life saving leg suspension devices that allow the user to survive long falls.

Inevitably, things take a turn for the worse and Portal becomes a more freestyle and open game. Escaping Aperture Labs with your life is going to take all your daring and portaling skill. Gun turrets with personality, a HAL like A.I., and the promise of cake all stand in your way to freedom.

Portal is a thoroughly defined and encapsulated game. The portal chambers the player traverse have obviously gone through rigorous beta testing and iterative design stages. The cleanliness of design adds to the feeling of being trapped inside a sterile laboratory. Voice acting is wonderful and it's definitely the icing on the Portal cake.

The only small problem with Portal is the loading interruption between stages. Obviously designed with consoles in mind, the PC version is cluttered with unnecessary loading screens between very small areas. The threadbare story is refreshing and the puzzles are stimulating. If you consider yourself a gamer, of any kind, you should play portal.


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