Games for Lunch: Closure
Developer: Tyler Glail
Release Date: Jan. 23, 2009
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web site
0:00 After seeing three separate recommendations for this game in as many days, I decided I had to try it out. That said, I still don't really know what the game is about, despite some rather vague explanations, so I'm going in largely blind. If you want to do the same, might I recommend hitting the "Official Web site" link before reading any further.
0:01 This minute spent on a loading screen with a creepy heartbeat and a system of arteries and veins filling up with blood to represent the loading progress.
0:02 The scene is rendered in extremely sketchy black and white. It looks like I'm a guy hold a ball drawn in chalk. Above me, a sign with an arrow pointing right. Behind me, a car crashed into a tree on fire. In front of me, inky blackness. Let's DO THIS!
0:03 As I walk, the ball of light surrounding me reveals my immediate surroundings. The credits are written in the background as I pass by. I drop the ball in a holding pedestal and four more similar pedestals light up and appear on the corners of the screen. The title appears in the middle. Hmm...
0:04 I fall to my death in the inky void a couple of times trying to figure out what to do next. Turns out I have to jump to the upper right ball-holder, pick up the ball, and walk a bit to the door. In the next room: "If you get stuck: K, R, Enter." There's a real creepy vibe to the whole thing, exacerbated by the background noise that sounds like a boiler room.
0:05 I walk up to the next door, but a message appears on the wall: "I need more light." I go grab a second and the door becomes openable. In the next room, the message "come on ... through" is written on the wall, with a wall in the middle of the words. It seems that anything not actively illuminated doesn't exist, but as soon as I get near the wall, a light source on the other side makes it corporeal and blocks my way. Hmmm...
0:07 Ah, I have to position the light just far enough away to provide a platform for me to jump from, but not so close that it completes the wall. With the correct positioning, I can jump over the half-visible wall to the other side. I can see a lot of potential in this mechanic.
0:10 The next room is quite odd, with a moving light source and an area to fall down to the next platform. It seems there are some platforms that don't really exist when I get close, though. It's not all that hard in the end, though ... I just have to pick up the light and move on.
0:11 I drop down to get a key, then ride a moving light up like an elevator as it creates a wall below me. I can't carry the key and light at the same time, meaning I have to alternately carry and drop, carry and drop to move along. Annoying.
0:12 To make matters worse, the next area introduces "no drop zones," meaning I can't do my carry-and-drop alternating with the key and light. Luckily I find a compartment that moves the light for me as I jump along merrily with the key. La dee da.
0:14 Now we're getting somewhere ... the last room involved three levels of moving light holders, all moving in different directions. I have to use some basic timing to drop down, get the key and get to the exit. Also, I figured out what was creating the "fake" platforms -- hollow balls which show the surroundings but leave them incorporeal. I call them blacklights.
0:18 Not 20 minutes in and I've hit my first stumper. I have a real light and a blacklight, either of which can get copied into another moving light platform when placed in a pedestal. If I use the real light, I can't make the jump to the next area. If I use the fake light, I can hold the real light and make it, but then I can't use the path. Hmmm...
0:19 I got the solution as I was typing the above note ... I had to take the fake one out of the moving lantern after it moved a little and then replace it with the real one. Hooray for outside-the-box thinking.
0:27 The timing has me stumped again in this one room. There are two lanterns moving synchronously ... I have to put the light ball in one while still being close enough to the other to climb the wall elevator it's creating. I hope these descriptions are understandable -- it's a tough game to describe.
0:29 Just noticed the creepy graffiti in the background: "Can you hear me?" Reminds me of Portal.
0:30 Ah ... it wasn't bad timing at all ... I just needed to realize that the moving lantern I need will pop up at a random point if I wait long enough in the movement cycle. Of course I couldn't see this before because it was hidden in blackness. I really just lucked into the solution. Not a great feeling, actually.
0:33 The blacklight proves its usefulness by revealing a white light through a nearby wall. I can jump through the parts of the wall in the blacklight area, but still stand on the nearby floor because of the white light. Genius!
0:37 Getting the key to the door under real light is a little trickier than I'd imagined, but I get it. It involves using these pedestals to create copies of the light balls in places they couldn't get to otherwise. The odd logic of this game is still taking a little getting used to.
0:39 The difficulty so far is a bit inconsistent ... After being stumped for seven minutes on one room, the next room takes me a straightforward two minutes. Maybe it's just the way my brain is wired.
0:40 I have to place a ball and then immediately jump to make it to the door in the next room. For a puzzle game, there's a lot of reflex-based platforming. Or vice versa...
0:43 This room requires a lot of pointless shuffling between key and light ball. Dude, you have two hands. Use them BOTH!
0:44 I feel I should mention my character's idle animation, which is a kind of manic flinch against the darkness. This is surpisingly unsettling.
0:51 Turns out dropping a key into the Inky Blackness Where Nothing Can Live (TM) does not destroy the key. This fact is key to solving the current room, and just generally good to know!
0:54 A mess of moving light platforms in the next room, where the movement of one affects the movement of a few others in turn. I'm surprised at how quickly I figure out the solution. I think my brain is finally wrapping around the game's strange rules.
0:55 The next room makes stairway for me as a light holder moves diagonally up and down. I have to jump pretty precisely to prevent the newly appearing blocks from sending me to my doom. Reminds me a bit of those Super Mario World castles with the moving block snakes.
0:56 "YOU KNOW WHO WE ARE" reads the creepy background graffiti. I do?
1:01 I'm a bit stuck on what will be my final room for the hour. I have to place a light in a pedestal at just the right time, I think, to get the movement to line up. Can't quite get it, though...
Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes.
Why? Great level design, interesting art design and a totally unique premise are enough to make me play through a game in its entirety, usually.
This column is based on an in-browser version of the game available at the official Web site.
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