Schrödinger's Cat: Raiders of the Lost Quark (Xbox One)
Team 17 Digital Ltd
Team 17 Digital Ltd
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
September 23, 2014 (PC)
May 13, 2015 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Schrödinger’s Cat is a fun, frantic, wacky and colourful puzzle-laden platform game, set in a unique and quirky quantum physics world. There’s chaos at the Particle Zoo! What used to be a cheery theme-park environment is now overrun with hungry leptons, sticky-fingered gluons and massive, stubborn bosons. The Zoo is put on lockdown, and the emergency services are called in to sort everything out. Those emergency services? Schrödinger’s Cat, of course! Combine and create useful bits of temporary matter to help you combat and subdue all the subatomic critters running amok, and help Schrödinger’s Cat work out how they all got out of their cages in the first place.
There have been some fun and decent games coming to the Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program recently. We had a chance to play Italic Pig and Team 17’s latest platformer and without further ado bring you our Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quarks review for the Xbox One.
For all you non-science buffs out there who may not have heard of Schrödinger’s cat, it’s a thought experiment devised by Erwin Schrödinger back in the 1930s. Wikipedia describes the experiment as follows:
…a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.
Quite the paradox if you ask me! Now that you are thoroughly confused, what does this have to do with Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark? Why you play as Schrödinger’s cat of course! Something has happened at the Particle Zoo – a place where visitors go to observe basic physics particles – which has caused all the enclosures to open. You, as Schrödinger’s cat, are called in to save the day and must make your way through various levels collecting Quarks who assist you through each level as you work your way through the Particle Zoo and try to figure out just exactly what caused all the havoc at the zoo in the first place.
Schrödinger’s Cat seems like a standard platformer at first glance. You make your way through various levels, collecting Quarks and combine them three at a time to help you on your journey. The basic Quarks are Up, Down, Top and Bottom. When combining three Up Quarks, they’ll combine into a helicopter that will lift you up a short distance before disappearing. Three Bottom Quarks will form a solid platform to stand on , three Down Quarks allow you to drill through some surfaces, and three Tops will form a protective shield around you. Various combinations have different effects, for example two Up Quarks and a Down Quark will combine to let you drill horizontally and so forth.
As you play through Schrödinger’s Cat, the levels are randomly generated and you must figure out how to get through them while attacking Leptons, Gluons, and Bosons who are running around the zoo. Being that the levels are randomly generated, there is definitely a replayability value as you won’t be getting the same level each time you visit a different area. These levels vary in the straightforward to the more difficult and there will definitely be not only some trial and error but times you’ll run out of Quarks and have to restart and figure out where you went wrong.
I did run across some issues a few times when attacking some of the enemies, like the Gluons. I could be right beside it and hitting the attack button and nothing would happen. It seems a bit finicky and turns the attack into a bit of a frustrating button mash at times, but overall the rest of the gameplay and story was enough to keep me wanting to continue through.
The conversations that you have and the comments that you hear along the way are highly science based, and good for a chuckle even if you only know a little bit (or nothing) about quantum physics. There are more than a few references to other scientists, experiments, and other scientific lingo throughout the game whether it be in dialogue or even the level design.
The graphic style of Schrödinger’s Cat is well done, from the environments to Schrödinger’s cat and the various “elements” like the Quarks and other particles you come up against. The graphics are largely 2D comic style, but it works and makes for some fun gameplay. Throughout my time playing, the game ran smooth and I had no issues with stuttering or lag.
I think the one place the game really shines is the sound design. The sound effects and background music track are well done, but it’s the dialogue that really takes the cake. It’s one of the few games I’ve played where I haven’t wanted to quickly fast forwarded through the dialogue options.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is a fun little platformer with a definite penchant for science related jokes and dialogue. If you like platformers and are looking for something quick and fun to play while challenging your thinking skills, you’ll want to check out Schrödinger’s Cat.