Every once in a while you encounter a video game that doesn’t fit into any category that you have seen before. There is a hint of Portal, in the sense that it is a first-person puzzle game, but where Portal brought a physics-busting gun into the real world, Antichamber places the player in the most physics-busting world I have ever seen. I don’t want to talk about any of the warped and distorted rooms or the intricate and mind-twisting puzzles. These puzzles need to be experienced firsthand. The simplest ones can destroy your preconceptions. The hardest ones can make your brains fall out of your ears. In a good way. If you like a puzzle at all, this is an easy game to recommend.
I think that the thing this game does better than any other game I have ever played is teach you how to play it. There are several elements that build on each other in an organic and frequently unexpected way. Once you learn that you can use a technique to do one thing, you will be given a challenge that requires you to use the same technique in a totally new way. By the end, you almost stop being surprised by the various twists on reality and even start to anticipate them. This game builds the challenges so carefully that they are always just out of reach of your current skills, forcing you to try new things.
This is also a game that encourages you to play at your own pace. The puzzles will percolate in the back of your mind when you aren’t playing. You might wake up at four and realize that the room you had been stuck on suddenly makes perfect sense. In fact, this is often a better way to do it than to throw yourself at a difficult puzzle for an hour. Now, if you are spectacular at this kind of puzzle and can immediately see the answer to the most obscure challenge, then I hate you you can finish this game in an hour. You won’t though. You will spend several days or even a week or two extracting all the juicy, non-Euclidian challenge out of this beautiful, little game and you will love it.
Antichamber is available on the PC here and is well worth your time.