Friday, June 26, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep 23: Broken Dimensions

Broken Dimensions is a Portal-style puzzler with a twist of horror, created in five weeks by a team of students at DADIU.

This is a fantastic game, and I'm very impressed with what the team accomplished in such little time. Broken Dimensions was clearly inspired by Portal's level design in that each area teaches you some new tricks using the game's fundamental mechanic, but in a way that lets you discover the application on your own. 

You're guided by a ghostly figure that claims to be helping you out, but it doesn't take long before you realize she's not quite what she seems (GLaDOS, anyone?). In several areas you can find scrawled warnings, likely left by other children who happened to wander in (or perhaps Ratman). You end up using a box here and there to complete the puzzles and continue in the game (Companion Cube). I suppose one could also draw comparisons between the candy and cake, though to be fair you actually get the candy many times while playing.

While the game takes a lot of cues from Portal, Broken Dimensions has an important difference that makes it a unique experience. The fundamental mechanic involves you twisting the perspective of the map in 90-degree angles so that the objects and obstacles in the room (as well as what surfaces you can walk on) shift. I'm not sure whether you're rotating the temple or altering gravity, but it has the same net effect and is a damn cool power - it's like making the entire world a giant Rubik's Cube! This is a great mechanic that I'd love to see more of. If anyone knows of another game that does this, please leave me a comment!

I'd also like to point out that the levels in Broken Dimensions are aesthetically pleasing. The temple is lined with mysterious and gruesome depictions, giving you a sense of unease and leaving you to wonder when you'll face the same fate. I feel more attention was given to the temple than the game's two main characters, but I'm actually alright with that. I spent more time looking at the environment for ways to solve the puzzles anyway, so I'm glad they focused on making it look good.

Broken Dimensions has two flaws, and I feel they're connected. It's a short game, and one can finish it in about an hour. It also lacks a save option (probably due to it being so short), meaning you can't put the game down and pick up where you left off. This isn't normally a problem, but if you experience a crash or have to stop playing all of a sudden, you have start over at the beginning.

To sum it up, if you like Portal and want to try out a different game mechanic, play Broken Dimensions!

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