The puzzle genre is a little hit-and-miss. Occasionally you stumble across a game that is so hard that you scream, throw your toys out of your pram, and uninstall it immediately. On the flip side, there are titles that lack any sort of challenge. Consequently, this is equally frustrating. Therefore, I don’t envy the teams that work on these projects. It must be hard to get the balance right while also incorporating an exciting story. As such, when The Entropy Centre landed on my desk, I was understandably reserved.
Developed by Stubby Games and published by Playstack, this is a puzzle adventure title. What’s more, it has a captivating plot that is laced with razor-sharp humour. Furthermore, it has a wonderful futuristic setting and some mind-bending puzzles, and it has a balanced approach. Subsequently, it’ll test you throughout without the risk of rage quitting.
The Entropy Centre tells a daunting tale.
Games in this category rarely tell a decent story. Normally, the developers focus on the mechanics of their game and little else. Thankfully, The Entropy Centre balances both as you experience a heartwrenching story that is juxtaposed with humour, mind-boggling problems, and an unnerving sense of doom. Accordingly, it is tough to put down once you get into the swing of things.
You control a worker who has lost her memory. She awakens to find no one around, and her surroundings are trashed. Moreover, a tannoy repeatedly barks out orders and a labyrinthine world enhances her disorientated state. Quickly, though, she discovers an artificially intelligent being known as ASTRA. This dry but witty machine attempts to push you forward. However, its lack of empathy and emotion lead to some amusing albeit uncomfortable moments. With its help, you’ll power the space station you reside in and stop a cataclysmic event on Earth.
Time won’t stop you.
Death, destruction, and despair are the core elements of the plot. Yet, it isn’t all doom and gloom. No, instead, the use of time-bending mechanics and intricate puzzles takes the edge off your impending demise. With 15 acts to complete and a world-saving mission to finish, time should be of the essence. However, you are free to move as quickly or as slowly as you like. Unlike its peers, there are no rewards for rushing through stages, nor is there a scoring system for getting everything right. Instead, the enjoyment comes from completing each testing challenge you face.
The Entropy Centre is a maze-like game that combines oodles of rooms across an array of floors. A new puzzle element is added as you complete each act, and this ensures that the game gets increasingly tougher. This was an excellent approach as it ensures there is a tough but fair learning curve. The basic idea is to activate switches to unlock doors in order to progress. However, things aren’t that simple as you must activate plenty of switches with limited tools to hand. Consequently, you’ll use ASTRA to reverse time and rebuild structures.
This handy AI can help to pick up boxes or springboards or reverse the path in which they’ve moved. Accordingly, you must deconstruct each puzzle and work backwards if you wish to solve each problem. This unusual style takes some getting used to, but once you get into the groove, it becomes second nature as logic and a methodical mindset take over.
The Entropy Centre has a familiar look.
The developers have created a pleasant world to observe. However, many of the assets look familiar, and the small rooms are generally devoid of items or intricate details. Now, this isn’t a complaint. Instead, it adds to the sci-fi style and the clinical nature of the task at hand. What I did like, on the other hand, was the incredible animation when moving items. It was fantastic to watch buildings being repaired or boxes floating through the air. What’s more, the transitional scenes between acts were filled with drama and minor puzzle elements. This was equally good as it tied together each chapter and kept the story flowing.
The visuals were nicely complemented by the excellent audio. The constant noise of the tannoy, the sound of structures crumbling, and the upbeat and dramatic soundtrack were all great. However, the pièce de résistance was the excellent acting. The combination of the female protagonist and the cold but amusing AI worked wonderfully. With punchy one-lines and a clear lack of empathy, it’ll make you chuckle throughout.
It’s easy for developers to focus on the wrong things. When this happens, the fundamentals usually get missed. Fortunately, The Entropy Centre doesn’t fall into this trap. Rather, it has a strong foundation from which to evolve. Subsequently, the controls and core mechanics are phenomenal. As such, you’ll pick it up with ease and enjoy manipulating time and space repeatedly.
Where it falls short, though, is its replay value. Like many of its peers, it has a linear framework that doesn’t stray from the path. Therefore, once it’s finished, there is little reason to return. Fortunately, the first playthrough is excellent, so this isn’t too much of an issue.
The Entropy Centre plays with your head.
Generally, I like my puzzle games to be more traditional. As such, I’ve played Myst and other similar titles to death. Yet, The Entropy Centre took me by surprise! I adore its interesting mechanics, excellent story, and wonderful acting. Yes, the lack of replay value was disappointing, but it wasn’t a surprise. Accordingly, I’m happy to recommend that you buy it here! Will you save Earth from its cataclysmic event? Explore the space station, solve the problems, and remember that you can manipulate space and time.