Antichamber is much more than a mind-bending puzzler with non-Euclidian geometry thrown into the mix. It is a endearing title that teaches us that the impossible is indeed possible and all while teaches us a little bit about life itself. Also their is a little M. C. Escher nestled in their.
In life, sometimes what might seem impossible and futile is not actually the true reality of the situation. You may have change your perspective, state of mind, and even develop more tenacity than a cockroach, but every problem can be solved with these characteristics applied. And if they can’t, giving up might not such a bad thing. You will learn from it at least. Antichamber, a game where M. C. Escher meets Portal teaches us these lessons and more in a style of gameplay that mere words alone can not explain. Filled various riddles, mind shattering puzzles, and cheeky messages written on the wall to help you, accomplishing the impossible will be a reality. Did I mention M.C Escher…because this game would make him turn over in his grave with delight.
When you start the game, you enter a small little room that will act as your base of operations and main menu. Here you control various options and more importantly, start the game from a map. Only one room will be selectable as you start, but as you progress, more and more of the map will be filled and you can choose to pick up from other locations after you reach specific points in the game. However, unlike traditional puzzle games that require minimal task of you, Antichamber is not that kind of game and you will learn soon that you will have to question everything. And, I do mean EVERYTHING! For instance, one puzzle wanted me choose between a flight of stairs: one red and one blue going i opposite directions. The tip on the wall (cleverly using double speak) makes you to believe that their is only one path to take, but actually by going down the red stairs in reverse order and taking the blue flight it made a new pathway instead of just repeating the two choices again. You will need utilize the tips on the wall and shift your own perspective to discover the many paths the game provides. Tenacity is a must and you can not be frustrated just to give up in a few minutes. Yet, I doubt Antichamber will make you want to rage and quit and rather stick with it.
However, when your back is up against the wall and their is clearly no solution to the problem for the time being, you can escape and return back your main room and try again. Simply press the “Esc” key and ask yourself “WTF happened!” Good thing is: you can never truly fail in this game, since it teaches you that trying again and trying new approaches will eventually help you achieve your goals when it seems out of the question. For another example, I came to dead end and had start in the main room again. Coming back and looking at the map, I learned that their were two rooms between that dead end that I did not even notice. Choosing to go to the closest location, I immediately went to these rooms and found out that the supposedly “dead end” wasn’t really dead, but just needed me to see it from a different direction to proceed. Failure is not permanent, only temporary, and finding solutions to break that temporary status is only a mere quarter of what Antichamber cleverly guides the player to see.
While the stunning visuals do serve a concrete purpose as far as the puzzle elements are concerned, it is hard not to get wrapped up and in awe of the pure aesthetic prowess they bring to the table. The bright and flashy hues of some colors are used to create optical illusions and fool both the mind and eyes. You might not be able to explain it in the most artful or scientific fashion, but able to appreciate it all the same and see how much impact the visuals have. The sounds and soundtracks are just as amazing as the design, since their are few sounds that play, but most aren’t just ambient. The auditory clues are also given, but you have to be a little more clever to hear them.
Antichamber is probably one of the more difficult puzzles games I have played and one that has left my jaw wide open. It is hard to explain without trying it out for yourself, and even if you do not like puzzles, buying it on Steam is probably the best service you can do yourself just to have it in your collection. Intuitive levels will test your logical skills and sometimes teach you that logic is not everything. It will also test your tenacity and you will need to be tenacious to succeed. You sometimes devote hours into trying to figure it all out. Most importantly, Antichamber might teach you little about life, and that sometimes you can accomplish the impossible…if you believe it possible.