Quantum Conundrum PS3 hands on preview: fluffy, heavy, fluffy, heavy, SLOW!

Quantum Conundrum PS3

Having played through around a quarter of this physics puzzler from Portal creator Kim Swift, we can confirm that it’s every bit as good as those screenshots indicate. Errr… okay, scratch that. It’s much better than those screenshots indicate, colourful as they may be. Anyone who enjoyed learning how to think with portals will feel right at home here, although this time you’re thinking in dimensions.

In the final game you’ll be able to use the shoulder buttons to switch between four of them: fluffy (everything is ten times lighter), heavy (the opposite), slo-mo (time slows by 20 times), and reverse (time… yeah, you guessed it). For our playthrough we were only using the first two, but even that got complicated enough.

Much like Portal, the game is broken down into a series of rooms that you have to traverse, mainly by weighing down switches and avoiding deadly laser traps. You’re typically given some bits of furniture (and a curious number of safes) with which to do this, and then it’s a question of using your interdimensional powers.

Safes that are too heavy to lift become transportable in the fluffy dimension, while in heavy they absorb the laser beams that threaten to end you. Likewise, otherwise useless cardboard boxes can be used to weigh down switches in heavy, or to smash through plate-glass windows. It’s all simple enough to start with, but after nearly two hours we were dodging an entire room’s worth of laser beams, creating a floating bridge out of boxes and flinging safes across a room by rapidly switching from heavy to fluffy.

The world is less compelling than that of Portal, and despite the presence of John De Lancie (Star Trek, Breaking Bad) as the narrator/grandfather you’re searching for, the humour’s certainly not at GLaDOS levels yet. But the game feels excellent, and the puzzling is set to be every bit as ingenious once all four dimensions come into play. No word on a Stephen Merchant cameo, though…

Quantum Conundrum has a summer 2012 release date.