Attractio is a first person puzzle game from GameCoder Studios. The game clearly takes inspiration from the hugely popular Portal games from Valve, with environmental puzzles and similar setting.
The game involves three main characters called Dalek, Mia and Keir. They are contestants in a reality show based in space called Attractio. The game show they are taking part in sees them having to complete various puzzles and tasks in order to try and win and therefore choose what grand prize they will receive. The prizes they are aiming for are freedom, money and advanced technology.
The story feels unimportant and I felt like the game doesn’t actually need it. Attractio is all about the puzzle solving and progression through the various areas. It does a good job of mixing puzzle solving with platforming and uses a variety of gameplay mechanics. You will be using things like gravity boots that reverse the polarity of your player and a gravity gun to interact with objects in different rooms. This is just like Portal and Half-Life, where you need to move boxes in order to reach ledges and solve puzzles.
I have to say that the difficulty is all over the place, with some incredibly easy moments to frustratingly difficult puzzles and situations. Each level has a series of rooms that you need to make your way through. Each of these rooms will have you moving boxes, jumping from boxes and reaching ledges to get to the next door. The objective in each room is usually fairly obvious and it just becomes a case of figuring out how to achieve reaching the next door. The game doesn’t hold your hand or really tell you how to solve puzzles or what is expected of you, so it does take some time learning and adapting to each situation.
The game stays interesting because of the three different characters you play as. Mia uses gravity boots that play with gravity, Keir has the gravity gun that allows him to change the gravitational pull of objects in the environments and Dalek’s puzzles are about using objects he finds within stages to change the environment he is in. This sees you flipping switches, moving boxes and changing barriers to order to progress. The puzzles start out easy enough but it soon becomes clear that the game has some very challenging puzzles and scenarios that at times were hugely frustrating. I would find I would get stuck in certain rooms trying something to move forward only to find out that I was completely trying to do the wrong thing. This level of difficulty makes solving the puzzles even more satisfying once you finally figure out what it was you needed to do.
The gameplay is easy enough to learn but becomes extremely hard to master as the difficulty increases. The puzzles are interesting enough, but the actual movement and mechanics can feel a bit clumsy and frustrating. There were various puzzles that involve jumping onto crates or ledges and controlling the character felt awkward meaning that it would take several attempts before succeeding. As I said before I don’t feel like the story was that important in the overall experience. I wish that the stages felt a bit more consistent, as the difficulty seems all over the place.
The characters themselves are fairly generic and uninteresting apart from Dalek, who is a convicted criminal who is desperate for freedom and wants to prove he is innocent. The overall presentation is ok, with well designed environments. The cutscenes don’t look particularly great, but as I said before the game is more about the gameplay mechanics rather than having impressive graphics.
Overall Attractio is a game that has clearly been influenced by Half-Life and Portal but unfortunately doesn’t match up to those superior titles. The game doesn’t have combat and focuses more on puzzle solving and figuring out how to progress to the next area. I appreciate the fact that the developers have tried to create some sort of story, but for me it just feels a bit mundane and therefore falls sort. If you like games like Portal or other games that use environmental puzzles you might want to give this a go, just don’t expect a game that reaches those sorts of heights.
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