The Entropy Center Review – IGN

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There is nothing quite like the feeling you get in a puzzle game when you look at the big picture and the solution to the whole phase comes at once. And the clever challenges in the Entropy Center regularly provided me with these “Eureka!” moments. His time-consuming first-person brain teasers weren’t usually as challenging as I would have liked, but finding the solution was always satisfying nonetheless. And it all comes in a rather compelling, bittersweet story.

One thing straight away: Yes, this game is it a lot of like Valve’s Portal series. You wake up in a suspiciously abandoned company complex. You’ll find a weird science gun for solving physics puzzles that require placing cubes on switches. And all the while, a brave AI companion chats to add some lightness to the situation. The Entropy Center proudly bears this inspiration and, if anything, it comes across as a very deliberate homage. And I, for one, am totally on board with more games inspired by the biggest hits of their genre.

The main difference is that Portal’s puzzles were mostly about space, while The Entropy Center’s puzzles were about time. Her trusty entropy device can be used to rewind items, projectiles, and even certain world objects, which really got me thinking outside the box. At least for the first half of the 10 hour drive. A significant portion of the dozens of chambers I’ve walked through kind of felt the same once I understood the basic logic used to design them, and I wish it explored more creative and sophisticated ways of mixing things up .

My trusty entropy device really got me thinking outside the box.

Eventually, once I got the hang of analyzing each room from the end and working backwards in my head to the solution, the difficulty eased off a bit. There were only a handful of puzzles that took me more than 10 minutes to complete, and two in particular that I remembered as being really challenging. Only with the later introduction of interesting new puzzle elements, such as transformation fields, which can transform blocks into other block types, did the difficulty increase again. But others just weren’t nearly as interesting. Magically rewinding time to move a conveyor belt doesn’t feel much different than reversing its direction at the touch of a button – this is definitely a case of an ingenious solution to a problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think The Entropy Center is too easy overall. The level of challenge is a nice middle ground between casual and punishing. It’s more that it never fully gets to explore all the possibilities that should be possible with the clever tools that it has. I kept thinking about how to combine all of these elements to create even more elaborate and fiendish puzzles, but the level design seems to leave a lot on the table. And with that in mind, I’m further disappointed that there aren’t currently any level editing tools that could allow the community to push them to those limits.

The level of challenge is a nice middle ground between casual and punishing.

The Entropy Center takes its story to interesting places, however, and couples its series of mystery chambers with a gripping, imaginative sci-fi story that asks some thought-provoking questions about foresight, inevitability, and what you can and can’t change , if you had the chance to do it again. The center itself degrades as you progress through it, although I felt the impending cataclysm was a little too protracted to really inspire any sense of urgency. Likewise, like its jigsaw pieces, I don’t think this journey fully explores the intriguing metaphysics of its premise. I get it: time travel plans are difficult. And this one is by no means bad. It’s also not exceptionally stunning or innovative.

The Entropy Center screenshots

However, the voice acting elevates the story with charming and heartfelt performances that bring to life our determined “puzzle agent” protagonist, Aria, and her brave AI companion, Astra. The humor is quite hit-or-miss, and riffs on tired themes of mechanical, corporate indifference to human emotion: Astra will cheerfully say things like, “Would you like me to take the word ‘yeet’ out of my dictionary?” It’s not on the same level as the sharp, laugh-out-loud writing in Portal – especially not matching the awesome Portal 2. But it made me really care about the little smiley face on the back of my gun at the end of the day, and there is something to be said for that.

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