Release Date: Apr 26, 2018
On April 26, 2018, the Indie puzzle-adventure game Portarius was released on Steam for Linux and PC. I have recently played the game and will be discussing any likes or dislikes I may have. As soon as you start playing the game you will notice that it is very similar to the game Portal with a hint of an Angry Birds art style and some game mechanics. You control a spaceship that can shoot portals for movement and to solve puzzles.
The story for the game is that as your father is lying on his deathbed, he leaves you a mysterious map that leads to the center of the Earth along with an advanced spaceship that is equipped with a gun that can shoot portals. The Earth's core is unstable and you must travel to the center of the planet and find a way to save the Earth. Although this is not mentioned in the game, Portarious' website does talk about this and it is kind of hinted at in-game.
As the pilot Portarius you must use your father's ship to solve puzzles and advance to the next level. The ship's portal guns play a major part in the game. You must use them to move your ship as well as interacting with objects in the level to solve puzzles. The controls are quite simple, the only button you need to press is the left or right mouse buttons. The first click of the mouse shoots an orange portal and a second click shoots out the blue portal. You can move the ship by clicking underneath your ship, which will shoot a portal there, and click anywhere else on the map that is within view of your ship to make a second portal appear and port yourself there. By clicking from point A to point B is how you navigate the ship. Portals shot from your ship will keep moving until they hit an object such as a wall, the ceiling, the ground, or any other object and then will make the portal once they hit them. Each portal also has a different direction it will move your ship which can be judged by the direction of air bubbles that come out of the portals. It seems that different angels you place the portals at can affect this. When you do place portals correctly to teleport you through, you will keep bouncing around the level in ping-pong fashion until your momentum either stops you or you die by hitting a spike or some other trap in the level. Sometimes you can cause an infinite loop if your portals are lined up in a straight line and you will come out one portal and keep going through another until you shoot a portal in a different direction. Sometimes this tactic is needed to get momentum before you switch one portal to another area and slingshot your ship to where you need to go.
Some objects in the game such as rocks, levers, metal objects, wooden objects, or water can be interacted with by shooting your portal near them. Rocks or other heavy objects can be teleported by your portals to land on a switch or lever to open up areas for you to clear the stage. Some later stages have water levers in the same fashion that require you to fill containers with water to press pressure plates. Water can be moved around the stage by putting one portal in the water and another wherever you want to move to water to.
The difficulty in the game can become quite challenging. You start off in very easy levels where you must just get from point A to point B and then you slowly get introduced to levers and other objects in later stages that require some thinking and offer a bit of a challenge. The game is broken into three chapters that are unique sub-worlds. Chapter 1 is a Subterranean World where puzzles revolve around items such as rocks, metal bars, and pipes. Chapter 2 is an Underwater World and mostly focuses on water physics and draining or filling containers with water to advance. Chapter 3 is the Mechanical World and is the most challenging chapter of the game. It focuses mostly on hydraulic presses, pistons and advanced movements of your ship. There are many traps as well that can kill you such as Buzz saws and turning gears that can crush you.
The game offers about 2-3 hours of gameplay and is quite fun and addicting to play. The 2D graphics are nicely done and quite pleasing to look at and they will remind you of some popular mobile games such as Angry Birds or Plants VS Zombies. The physics for objects and water are quite realistic for a 2D game. The game lacks an in-game story and the game's difficulty can be quite hard at times without an objective, but that adds to the challenge. The game is single-player and offers Steam Cloud support and leaderboards which can add to the replay value. Overall, I am very pleased with this game and I love the challenge and non-repetitiveness that the different chapters offer. For a mere price tag of only $6.99, this game is a must-have for puzzle or challenging gameplay lovers!