Pandemonium at the Particle Zoo
Now try not to panic, everybody, but pandemonium has broken out at the Particle Zoo. All the cages are open and Gluons are galloping the corridors, Leptons are leaping from the rafters and Bosons are bouncing off the walls. The entire Quantum Polyverse is in danger, the very matter that ensures our existence at threat, and there is only one being who can save us all. Enter Schrodinger’s Cat. He might not be as smart as Stephen Hawking, but he sure is a super cat. Both simultaneously dead and alive, Schrodinger’s Cat is the only one who can survive the perils of an out-of-control Particle Zoo, but he can’t do it alone. Along with the dangerous particles there are some amiable and rather affectionate ones. The entire zoo is swarming with quarks. These cuddly little critters are very handy for creating temporary matter, which will be essential in Schrodinger’s Cat’s crusade to restore order to the Particle Zoo and return home in time for a nice bowl of Purina. Amass a quark army and take back the zoo. There is no greater challenge for a sassy purple cat.
Schrodinger’s Cat and The Raiders of the Lost Quark is an adventure platform puzzler. Collect the different coloured quarks and use them to navigate each section of the zoo. There are four different coloured quarks to find and each colour has a different property and therefore ability. Combine three quarks to form various pieces of matter. Red is a construction quark. Combine three reds and you can form a temporary platform to get to those hard to reach areas. Yellow is motion. Combine three to create a copter that will hoist Schrodinger’s Cat up in the air. Of course some kitties like to dig downwards, so combine three blue destruction quarks to drill the ground beneath your feet. Lastly, three green protection quarks will form a bubble that will protect Schrodinger’s Cat from the sticky bile inconveniently stretched over many of your paths.
Quarks are handy young fellows, and they’re even handier when you start mixing them up. Yellow, blue, blue – missile. Yellow, green, blue – bomb. There are fourteen combinations for you to figure out and once you’ve twigged them all, you’ve still got to suss which combo to use in each situation. Quarks can be rare in some parts and an ill-conceived combo choice will waste what few quarks you have and force you start again at the nearest checkpoint. The moral of this little tale is to collect and horde. Beating this game rests solely on the shoulders of these little darlings, so grab them at every opportunity.
As platformers go, Schrodinger’s Cat does the necessary business, but the quark combos are what really make the experience original and challenging. The first level will start off easy enough but soon you will need to slow down and really take note of your maze-like environment. Pressing the triangle button will pull back the camera and the left stick will allow some limited movement so you can plan where you need to go, how you need to get there and what quarks are available to help you. You don’t want to use up your only two blue quarks on a downwards drill when you need to save one for a bomb further up. Observing the playing field in this way is also great for finding the exit, which is very handy if you ever forget which way you were going, which never ever ever ever ever happened to me. Nope.
As you fly, jump, drill and explode your way around the zoo you will be tasked with the clean-up. Someone has to put those anthropomorphised elementary particles of the Standard Model back in their cages. Find ‘em, punch ‘em and use your combos to build a net that will scoop them up and float them away. Watch out for the Gluons, who are the equivalent of mischievous chimps in the Monkey House. These guys aren’t harmful but they will steal your stuff. You’ll have to knock them out if you want your precious quarks back. Later on in the game whole groups of specifically coloured nasty particles will dematerialize your matching-coloured quarks. You’ll need to find an alternative route around them if you want to hold on to all your gear.
The platforming mechanics on the whole work well. The jumping is of the floaty sort but if you’re cool with that you should have no problems. While there are a few places where Cat seems to get a bit caught up or he doesn’t seem to have quite enough room to jump without getting his ears stuck in some slime, these incidents aren’t frequent. The camera does take a little getting used to. The gently drifting background combined with the camera following you and then pulling back to observe the environment can make the weak-stomached feel a tad queasy, but you will soon get used to it. The graphics are nice, very colourful and fun. The environments are a little simplistic in their design and there is a lack of variety that caused me to wonder a couple of times if I’d accidentally doubled back to where I’d started. However I’m not one to complain when a complaint isn’t really needed. The in-game graphics are nice; they’re just not outstanding.
But why talk about what isn’t outstanding. Let’s chat about what is outstanding. Let’s have a natter about the superb voice acting. Great voices, great script, hilarious and charming characters. Schrodinger’s Cat puts some AAA efforts to shame. Anyone that watches The Big Bang Theory will know how funny physics can be. Sheldon Cooper’s Fun with Flags has nothing compared to the wit on offer in Schrodinger’s Cat. I haven’t laughed this much since Disgaea 4. The writing here is excellent, the comedy timing divine and all lines are delivered to perfection by some super-talented actors. It’s the glossy coat on a very fine cat.
Now we’ve got the main body of the review out the way and before we cut to the conclusion, it’s time for some light relief in the form of a hilarious joke. How many Schrodinger’s Cats does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: 2.998×108 m/s unless they’re wearing hats. Hahahahahaha! Oh. That’s Pope’s in a Volkswagen, sorry. Knock knock…
Rather than barely existing as a boring old dead and buried platformer, Schrodinger’s Cat survives and thrives as something a little bit special. Collecting and combining quarks to help you move around adds an original element that makes this game a tough one to put down. Whacky humour delivers one last layer of gloss to make this experience a very shiny one indeed. Schrodinger’s Cat is the bee’s knees, the cat’s paw and the dog’s … frisbee.
S J Hollis Rating 8/10