Indie

Attractio Preview – When Life Gives You Cake…

Attractio is an upcoming first-person puzzle game by Mexican developer GameCoder Studios. It is set on a space station orbiting Mars which serves as a reality game show as contestants (i.e. you) attempt to clear a series of stages using environmental cues and gravity-defying tools.

Looking at the images for this game it’s pretty clear what you are thinking. I’m a big believer in addressing the elephant in the room so let’s get this out of the way. Yes, Attractio is heavily influenced by Portal. It takes place in a series of test chambers, involves the use of real-world physics and technology that enables you to circumvent them, and it uses stark colors to illustrate how the puzzles within rooms work. Believe me, they know it too — there’s even a “cake/lie” visual gag to remove any doubt.


There. Now that we’ve gone over that, let’s talk about the game itself.

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Attractio‘s demo consists of three sections in which you play as one of three characters. Each has different abilities; Dalek can slow down time, Mia has gravity boots that enable you to reverse gravity (like in VVVVVV), and Keir has a gravity gun (yes, that’s actually what it’s called) which can reverse polarity of items. The progression of difficulty in the demo was relatively languid, although some of the latter ones I found to be quite challenging before (of course) realizing the solution was deceptively simple.

Everything seemed to work well together, although I did encounter some issues. Its use of motion blur caused some significant slowdown in sections, which led to disorientation and falling to my death. Another issue I found is that it could have done a better job of giving instructions; sometimes only flashing an objective quickly on screen the first time you try it. Then again, I managed to figure it out.

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I enjoyed Attractio‘s central conceit of being a kind of game show with advertising on the walls, a ticker tape scrolling along the bottom of the screen, and an indicator telling you how many spectators are watching you. The game’s narrator/host is affably smarmy, but the voices for the three characters really need a lot of work. I’m hoping that what I encountered were simply placeholder voices, because it could be a lot better; especially since Attractio seems to be aiming for a humorous appeal.

GameCoder appears to be a pretty small studio, and what they have accomplished with Attractio is quite impressive so far. it has a few rough edges still, but that’s hardly unusual for a demo. It is featured on Steam Greenlight right now, so why not have a look and see what you think. It is set for release ‘before 2014’, and I’m very interested to see how it turns out.

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