Antichamber describes itself as a “mind-bending psychological exploration game“. It falls in the same category as puzzle games like Portal and Kairo, and in the same exploration genre as The Stanley Parable. This is one of my favourite genres, and I had high expectations for Antichamber.
There is no background or story to talk about: You are in the antichamber, and your objective is to make your way through the structure. The problem is that the building does not use the regular laws of physics, and you may turn around just to find out that your path has changed when your back was turned.
You will soon have new tools to use in order to manipulate your surroundings and make your way through the maze. I found the game mechanics to be a bit like a clunky mix between Portal and Minecraft. I had at times difficulty to control what I wanted to do and several times I knew exactly what I wanted to do but difficulties in maneuvering made the puzzle solving a tedious task.
I love the idea of this game and I am impressed with how well the levels fit together and how much work it must’ve been to make the design. When it comes to the puzzles they were most of the time interesting but the difficulty ranged from very clever to incredibly predictable.
You also get a very handy overview of the entire structure which makes it easy to pick and choose what puzzles you want to concentrate on for the moment, or to start over when you have messed up.
However, no matter how much I try to enjoy this game, it doesn’t at all live up to my expectations. Considering other reviews I may be very alone with this opinion, but I don’t feel I have any reason to continue playing. In Portal, I wanted to advance because I felt chased. In The Stanley Parable I wanted to break free from the game. In Quantum Conundrum, I wanted to to help my uncle. In Kairo, I fled a dead world. This game, however clever it may be, never gives me that urgent feeling of needing to move forward. I never felt compelled to play the game in order to see what would happen next.
I would probably have enjoyed it more if the game would’ve given an impression of the player being trapped instead of the slow lull of just walking around, seeing what physics-bending tricks were around the next corner.