Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark Review
While we deal with physics in many video games, that higher level of education has rarely, if ever, actually been central to the plot. These days, jump distances and bullet arc are parts of games we take for granted. With Schrödinger's Cat, we get to mess with the particle zoo directly.
Schrödinger's Cat is our hero (who is luckily alive today) and on a mission to single-handedly restore order to the literal particle zoo, within a single piece of existence within a cell. Now, there are two puns in this past paragraph, which lead to both the best and worst parts of this game: the humor. If you find nothing snicker-worthy in that sentence, many jokes will go over your head. Not to say you won't get any entertainment from the game. The general slapstick will still amuse you, but there are some "high level" jokes that stand out more if you have a little bit of education under your belt.
Schrödinger's Cat adds some unique elements to the traditional platforming experience: while you have a plethora of actions available to you, you must have a combination of three pickups in order to facilitate them. This consists of up, down, top, or bottom quarks. Three ups make a helicopter, while a top-bottom-top make a trampoline, and an up-down-up shoot a missle. You don't need to have them memorized, as the entire map is on the pause menu, but it is handy if you get the patterns down. The pickups add a puzzle element to the game, because you need to have the right combinations in certain parts, and if you waste all your up quarks before you get to a big cliff you must climb, you'll be stuck. Luckily, the quarks regenerate, but they keep a set pattern so you have to know what you're doing. You may have to find a different way past a certain obstacle if it is between the difficult jump and your collection point. In later levels, the regeneration is a little more sparse, requiring more clever thinking on your part.
Levels are procedurally generated, meaning you can play it multiple times and get different levels to play through. This is a help and a hinderance at times, as you get the variety, but sometimes they are easy and others very difficult. I got to one point where a character told me to go to the right, and we were on the right edge of the level. Took me a while to figure out where he was guiding me. I do see the Team 17 styling in the random levels, with terrain (and a few weapon stylings) making me think they'd make good Worms levels.
Schrödinger's Cat feels like it fell out of the classic 80's/90's platformers world, which for fans of the genre is a very good thing. The humor and characters you meet give me the Earthworm Jim vibe, while the running tally board of how many animals are still out in the zoo lands between Oddworld and the oldschool collect-a-thon you'd find in just about every platformer imaginable. There's a bit of a Metroidvania feel, as you have most every move from the start, but figuring out how to use them can result in you going back and taking another crack at finding that last Gluon. It does have issues with repetitive voice work on deaths and such, but at least the humor in the game is appealing enough for it not to be an annoyance. One problem I had with the voicework was the touchy skip option. A few lines of dialogue were missed because I couldn't get it to advance, and then it'd advance twice, stinky when someone was giving me particular information.
Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark offers a unique platforming experience, giving you limited resources, while other titles give you free reign of your powers. Finding unique ways to use your combination of resources makes you feel intelligent, as do the high-end jokes when you get them. The solid gameplay will satisfy any classic platform gamer, and the comedy will keep you engaged with the story. It's currently available for $9.99 on Xbox One, PS4, and Steam.
Final Review Score: 3.5/5
A copy of the game was provided for review by the developers.