|Dev: Alexander Bruce|
|Release: January 31, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
At any time, you can go back to your starting room simply by hitting escape, and from there you can view a map of the entire labyrinth in all its non-Euclidian glory. However, the map’s real use is to allow you to teleport to rooms you have been to before. This makes backtracking easy and effortless. In fact, many times the game forces you to go back to the start and contemplate your actions. You can also see all the pieces of advice the game has given you, creating a mural of cartoony drawings outlining a life in itself.
Antichamber is actually far more non-linear than it first appears. Your first playthrough of the game will take hours as you explore every single room, solve every single puzzle, and work out every single quirk of the altered laws of physics around you. However, puzzles can be solved in many different ways. For example, you can use blocks to activate switches that open doors, but you can just as easily jam blocks into a door frame to prevent it from closing. Your first romp through Antichamber will likely take you about fifteen hours, but speedruns of the game have been clocked in at as little as five minutes. That’s how much hidden freedom the game actually has to offer.
There is no real plot to Antichamber, but there certainly is a tone. The whole game feels foreboding. The very fact that you are trapped makes the game almost feel like some sort of weird scientific horror. The end of the game in particular makes you go “what the heck just happened?” In a good way. The theories and hypotheses about what’s actually happening in Antichamber are many, and the Internet has been set ablaze in a fire of speculation and fan fiction.
Antichamber is so much more than a first-person puzzle game. It’s indie development at its best. It’s simple in premise but it makes you question everything you know. It tells its entire story and expresses its entire theme through gameplay and gameplay alone. This is art—admittedly abstract art, but art nonetheless. If you like Portal, Quantum Conundrum, or any other first-person puzzle game, then Antichamber will make you explode with non-Euclidean delight.
Antichamber is one game you do not want to miss. It’s available at a budget price on Steam right now, and you are doing yourself a disservice every minute you do not pick it up.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: February 14, 2013