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PAX East 2012: Quantum Conundrum and other cosmic quandaries

I can confidently tell you that Quantum Conundrum is a whip-smart and extremely clever first person puzzle solving action-adventure through the mansion of one Professor Fitz Quandrangle. But first, some ground rules: I’m going to write this entire article without mentioning Portal, I think that’s fair. Now, let’s dive dimensional-shift into the fun.

Personally, I love these puzzling adventures — I had no idea what I was getting into at PAX East, when I was simply invited to “sit down and start playing.” Needless to say, I was plesantly surprised as my mind went into overdrive to unravel the challenges set out before me. It’s in these instances I channel my inner puzzle-solver, from Lemmings to Worms, Braid to Zak and Wiki. Nothing is real, everything is permitted, embrace eternity! and so on. Away we go….

…so what do we have here… physics… yes, physics! Got it. And um, quick… you need to be quick, but sometimes slow… very slow. Hrrmmm, and what does this button do… ah yes, now I can see how the pieces fit (Tool reference intended). And if this battery goes here, then I can… yes, now I can get make it to the doorway….

You see, the Professor’s nephew arrives at a situation in which the Professor is no where to be found. You, the nephew, are conveniently armed (pun intended) with the technology to explore and unlock the mansions many mysteries. The Inter-dimensional Shift Device, is the key to unlocking a number of abilities that allow you to progress through the mansion’s rooms. Enter the “fluffy dimension” for instance, and objects become light as air, even the environment transforms into a pillow-y world of softness. Other abilities allow you to slow down time, make objects dense (read: heavy), and even reverse gravity.

In the demonstration, I controlled the “Fluffy Dimension” as well as the “Heavy Dimension”. I’ll make the distinction here of saying that “heavy” implies “density” because making something heavy isn’t always the way to solve a puzzle. For example, fluffy allows you to pick up a heavy item, like a sofa or safe, but the heavy dimension creates rock solid objects that even lasers can’t break. And yes, sometimes you need to plan your moves accordingly and be quick about it. Throw a safe at a window in fluffy dimension and it bounces right off, but switch dimensions at the right time and the window shatters to pieces.

From what I saw, I could immediately see that we were only scratching the surface here. This game requires some puzzle solving skill, attention to detail, some quick hands, a little bit of energon, and a lot of luck. (Okay, those last two were me, but you get the idea). Considering I knew very little about this game walking into the demo, I was completely blown away at the depth and richness of the puzzles played just in the demo. Although it may have already been a known quantity to you, Quantum Conundrum is my PAX East 2012 pick for Surprise Hit.

And if you don’t know, now you know… look Quantum Conundrum from Airtight Games and SquareEnix, downloadable this Summer, 2012.

Happy Gaming.



Hi, I’m one of the founders of Nerd Appropriate and the Rated NA podcast. I like good and bad sci-fi films and tv, pho, and the retrofuture. I am primarily an Xbox gamer, but also do some PC and Wii U gaming as well. By day, I am a research scientist, mostly in topics related to human-computer interaction and user experience. Before all this, fellow NA co-founder Matt and I played music together in various bands. I also used to make "comedy" videos for my high school morning news program before there was a place to post them online. Favorite Star Wars character? Admiral Ackbar. Best Bond era? Timothy Dalton (Craig a close second). Game of all time? Maybe System Shock 2. Thanks for being a part of this labor of nerdy love with us.