Antichamber Review

Antichamber

Screenshot from Antichamber.

I recently bought and finished Antichamber. It’s an indie title made by a handful of people. It was released earlier this year. I bought it on a Steam sale and decided that I should get acquainted with it. I didn’t want to spoil the game, so I only posted one screenshot so that you can get an idea of what the game looks like.

Antichamber is a puzzle-exploration game. Each corridor opens up to a new puzzle. At the beginning, you can only run, walk, jump, and learn the rules of the environment. Figuring out these rules helps you progress through the game much faster, but it does take a bit, because the game does not hold your hand, and rarely follows normal first person game tropes. One example, which is a MINOR SPOILER, is you will run down a hallway and turn the corner to reveal two sets of stairways. Going up one set of stairs puts you back at the beginning of the corridor with the two sets of stairways. Going up the other set of stairs, also puts you back at the beginning of the corridor with the stairways. Turning around and going back the way you came is the only way to progress from this puzzle. END MINOR SPOILERS.

There are some minor hints throughout the game, but it is mainly up to you to figure out the rules. As you progress, you get items to manipulate the world, which adds more depth to the puzzles. Figuring out the rules of the game and solving puzzles is immensely satisfying. I played the game without any assistance for about two hours. This allowed me to get comfortable with the rules of the game. After that point, I looked up a spoiler free guide, which just had a bunch of tips. That guide came in handy without spoiling the game for me. There were two puzzles that absolutely stumped me. On each one I spent about an hour before caving in and looking up a guide for it. One of them I was on the right track, but required a very specific way of the getting the solution, and I didn’t have the patience to use trial and error to achieve the goal. The other one I was just plain stupid.

There’s no story, at least not in the standard, narrative way. There’s no disembodied voice guiding you through the puzzles. There’s no cut scenes. There’s no talking at all. It’s just you exploring. There are posters guiding you along and giving you minimal hints, but that’s about it. There is an end, but it is very open ended allowing you to craft your own reasoning for why you are in this world, and what exactly you are doing. I was very satisfied with the ending of this game.

Graphically, the game is interesting. As you can see from the screenshot above, it’s mostly a black and white world, but seemingly random things are colored. Some of the colors from puzzles match up to a required item that you get later in the game, so that helps so you aren’t trying to solve a puzzle that you just cannot solve at the time.

Antichamber has very minimal sounds, but the sounds that are there really creates a creepy, but comforting atmosphere. That’s the best way I can describe it, even though it doesn’t make much sense. There’s subtle music going on most of the time. Sometimes you’ll hear the fluttering of birds. It’s weird, but it completely fits the atmosphere of the game. I liked it a lot.

Antichamber is definitely not for everybody, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. It really depends on your tastes. If you are up to a weird indie titles, then definitely recommend it. If you have an open mind and want to look into some indie games, this is a good game to start. It’s definitely worth the cost of admission. I clocked in at over 10 hours and solved all of the puzzles.

One thing that popped into my mind that I should let you know about. The game crashed right away when I first installed it. A quick look at the Steam forums for the game revealed a quick solution. I wanted to let you know so you don’t get frustrated if you do decide to buy it. It was created by a handful of people, so I give them some slack.

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