Every so often a game comes along with a name so bizarre you can’t help but be intrigued. Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark definitely falls into that category, and you’d be forgiven for not knowing what Schrodinger’s Cat is. It’s also ok to admit if you only know about it from The Big Bang Theory; you don’t need to be a science whiz to be able to play this one. Whilst a fairly deep understanding or interest in science may help you understand an extra joke or two, the game doesn’t exclude anyone from enjoying it.
Schrodinger’s Cat has a basic enough story, in which you are called in to help the escaped creatures from the particle zoo. There’s something more sinister going on behind the scenes though, and the blocked off nucleus door holding the mysterious “strange” quark is under threat from someone or something. The cutscenes tell the story well, and keep you informed of what is happening in various other places of the zoo whilst you continue on your own journey. There is a set amount of creatures for you to capture on your adventure round the zoo, but each area can be fairly easily revisited and you are warned when you get to “the point of no return” near the end of the game.
Whilst your aim is fairly simple, your way of completing it and navigating the levels is less so. Early on in the game you come across a quark, a little creature that takes a shining to you and comes in more than useful. The quarks can help you with everything on your way, from helping you to fly, to turning into bombs and missiles, and possibly their most useful aspect is being able to turn into a net to capture the escaped creatures. There are four types of quarks for you to play around with, and you will learn which coloured quarks you will need for each situation. What Schrodinger’s Cat has done especially well is created a puzzle game with no puzzles as such to figure out, but instead given you a puzzle in the form of finding the path using a completely unique way of moving about.
The game is easy enough to grasp, but will take a while to master. Your controls for Schrodinger’s cat are simple enough, with mainly a jump, crawl and scratch to learn. You use the lb, rb, lt and rt buttons to controls the quarks, and using different combinations of them in the choice of the 3 gives you different results. The difficulty comes in trying to remember these, and whilst they stay on the pause menu once you have used them for the first time, it can get annoying keep having to go and check how to make a bomb when you can’t remember. For most of the time though, the game hints at what you should be making, by leaving the appropriate quarks on the main path for you. This is especially helpful in the lagoon areas, where the quarks don’t respawn, and the chase sequences, where you only have seconds to combine the quarks otherwise you will die.
The game is lovely to look at, and has nice bright colours throughout. The dark/light purple shades of Schrodinger’s cat pay tribute to the alive/dead scientific theory it comes from, and it nice little touches like this that add to the game. The “Schrodinger’s cat is dead” when you die, followed by “Schrodinger’s cat is alive!” when you respawn is amusing to see, but unfortunately a lot of the other science based jokes were wasted on me, but it definitely didn’t stop me enjoying the game. The voice acting in the game is also very well done, with interesting voices to listen to being both informative and enthusiastic (or not, if the character called for that). They keep you enthralled all the way through the, albeit fairly short, story, and a fairly anticlimactic boss and sudden ending take little away from a game that is enjoyable in nearly every aspect.
There are some areas that you feel the game could have been improved upon. The length is my biggest gripe (which is actually a compliment towards the game that this is its biggest problem), in that it only took me about 6 hours to capture all the creatures, beat the boss and finish the game. You feel that other levels could have easily been added in, giving you more areas to explore and more creatures to capture. There are only three different type of creature for you to capture as well, so they could have also expanded upon the game there and added more creatures to find and consequently have more zoo areas to explore. The achievements are inventive, and fairly easy to get through, but the last achievement is given to you before even getting to the boss, meaning some gamers may never even bother finishing the game. This is a big shame, and it would of been nice had there been an extra achievement for beating the boss or completing the game.
Schrodinger’s Cat is a great little puzzle game, that will appeal to a wider audience as the puzzles are not stereotypical of the genre. The game grows on you the more you play it and get into it, unfortunately it finishes a little too soon. The humour in the game will appeal to everyone, scientific background or not, and whilst the more logically focused out there will enjoy seeing the platforms built in the shape of equations, the rest of us can simply enjoy the game for what it is; a fun, bizarre, unique puzzler.