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.
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.
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.