Change how you think about gravity.
Attractio for PlayStation 4
First-person puzzle games have become increasingly popular since Valve’s smash-hit Portal. With titles like The Talos Principle, The Witness, and more gaining serious traction, it’s easy to see where the gravity-based Attractio gained some inspiration. Despite similarities, though, GameCoder’s addition to the genre manages to create an experience all its own. With such exceptional titles to stand up against, though, the task of greatness isn’t an easy one.
Attractio takes place in a strange dystopian future, focusing on a bizarre game show called, aptly enough, Attractio. The show pits three competitors against one another in a series of lethal tasks that require the clever use of interesting tools to complete. Players will take on the role of all three of the game’s contestants, each with their own reason for participating and ideas for what to do with their winnings upon victory.
While the concept isn’t entirely new, Attractio still pulls off the game show aspect pretty well. Unfortunately, all three of the game’s characters are relatively one-dimensional, a problem that’s not helped by stiff, awkward dialog and voice acting. It’s certainly not the worst-written game out there, but it’s hard to feel compelled by the story with such uninspired participants and flat, dull delivery of the game’s supporting writing.
Despite this, though, Attractio still does get many of its pieces right. The puzzles are downright devious after some easy tasks to acclimate players to the game’s chief instruments. Players will need to learn to use gravity-reversing boots, a curious “gun” that can change an object’s gravity to any of six vectors, and more. While these are pretty cool, some time spent polishing the game’s controls and interface would have helped these elements to truly stand out.
In addition to its selection of tools, Attractio makes use of common elements such as buttons, boxes, and impassible barriers to create each level’s course. Manipulating gravitational direction and being mindful of which objects may be affected by a single switch are keys to progression. Hidden along the in-game obstacle courses, players can also find notes and recordings that support the game’s world as a whole, though much of the background fails to have any meaningful impact.
While Attractio draws clear comparisons to other first-person puzzlers, it’s not entirely a level playing field. Genre fans who found themselves drawn into the complex worlds of Portal or The Talos Principle aren’t going to get that same sort of immersion here. While the puzzles are well-designed, they’re held back by some difficult controls and the game’s lackluster world and characters.
It’s tough for me to really recommend for or against Attractio. The $19.99 price on the PlayStation Store and Steam is probably fair, but with more well-rounded titles in the genre and price range, players may find their money better spent elsewhere. If you’re a die-hard that’s looking for something new, and you don’t mind slogging through uninspired dialog and lagging controls, you’ll probably find yourself enjoying Attractio well enough to be worth a look. Otherwise, though, I’d have to say you can get a better overall experience by sticking to the more well-established titles.