Warning: Some people may consider seeing screens of a puzzle game spoilers, I do not think this simple puzzle ruins anything, but if you are spoiler sensitive then you might want to play Portal before you read this review.
How do you get that box onto the switch in the center of the room? With Portals of course!
Trust me, this is the first puzzle where you have both portals, it rocks your world. The portals only work on regular surfaces–concrete and the like–nothing shiny. You would be relatively familiar with this concept had you played Narbacular Drop. If you haven’t gotten around to trying the game that spawned Portal, don’t fret, it’s roughly the same experience with worse graphics.
This is the main type of puzzle you will encounter while playing Portal, you find yourself trying to diligently bend space to your will in order to escape from increasingly complex and hazardous challenges. The environment you travel through is sparsely decorated, a mix of grey, black and blue that remains constant for a good portion of the game. Even with desolate environments the game stands on it’s own because of the merits of the gameplay…but Valve never stops there.
In fact, while the least charming of The Orange Box package; Portal manages to be more clever and entertaining in it’s short play time than most other games on the market today. Which reminds me, the song for the credits is hilarious, if you don’t plan on purchasing The Orange Box at least find a video of the credits.
The experience is a short one, which makes reviewing a lot easier, but the overall satisfaction you get from completing the game in a sitting or two makes the length of the game very palatable. Story is kept to a minimum and you’ll find no complaints here, the character the game does introduce is so compelling and hilarious that any other attempt at story would have paled in comparison. Apparently, The Orange Box is the first time that one person has been a voice actor in five games releasing on the same day, or something to that effect.
Make sure you click on the pictures to see them in the highest resolution I could achieve (a paltry 1024×768), and make sure you at least try Portal. I highly recommend purchase in order to experience a unique game, not to mention the tantalizing user created content on the PC and the inevitable downloadable puzzles for the 360 and PS3. Just don’t expect Portal: Episode 1 for a long time.