Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC
We played on: PC
The first thing that came to mind when I started playing Attractio, is that it looked, acted, and played a whole lot like Portal, the immensely popular puzzle game from Valve. Attractio employs a similar tone with a humorous narrator/announcer. It also challenges your mind with perilous puzzles. That formula, while nowhere near as inventive and original as Portal was, still packs enough of a punch to keep you engaged when mixed with a unique idea such as gravity manipulation.
In Attractio, you control three different reality show contestants of varying backgrounds as they compete for victory. The narrator does a good job of keeping things light in tone, despite the fact that failing most puzzles results in death. But the game just sends you right back to the start of the level when that happens.
Each contestant gains access to different gadgets that make their levels different. Mia, a police detective from Mars, uses gravity boots to flip her gravitational orientation on the fly. This allows for some particularly complex puzzles as you switch back and forth between which way is up and which way is down. When you mix that with the ability to switch the gravity of objects as well, things start to get even more complex.
Then there’s Keir, a poor man with a thirst for fame. Keir uses the Shifter gun. You can set the gravity in the gun to one of six directions – up, down, left, right, towards, and away – and shoot it at objects to shift their orientation. This forces you to evaluate puzzles from a variety of different perspectives.
Finally there’s Dalek, the ruthless criminal that claims he was framed. He’s actually the first character you meet, but later into the game he gains access to both the gun and the boots. This amplifies the difficulty of puzzles later in the game.
Like other first-person puzzlers, Attactio can be difficult. Don’t be surprised if you get stuck a few times – I certainly did. Particularly late in the game, it can be incredibly frustrating when you get through a long and difficult level, then die, which forces you to restart from the beginning of the room. It’s clearly not designed for novice gamers. Although the lack of combat and shooting enemies could result in Attractio being a good introduction to first-person games in general.
When you’re not standing on your head to wrap your mind around one of the immensely complex puzzles in Attractio, you’ll probably be busy screaming into a pillow in frustration. But those rare moments when you solve a tough puzzle are wonderful.