Published on May 20th, 2015 | by Sean Warhurst
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark PS4 Review
Summary: Give this quirky little gem a chance and Schrödinger’s plucky little feline will almost certainly find a place in your heart.
Like someone seeking a Pavlovian response, the term “Schrödinger’s Cat” should ring a bell for anyone familiar with the realm of physics, with the titular feline being used in a famous experiment that aimed to show the paradoxical nature of quantum theory. Basically it boils down to this – A cat was placed into a box containing a mechanism that would break a vial of poison at an unspecified time and, until said box was opened and the cat’s state could be observed, it was theorised that the cat existed in a superposition of states, being both simultaneously alive and dead and it is only through being observed does the superposition become a single state.
So, what does the cat actually do whilst in this superposition of states? Well, according to Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark, he becomes miniaturised and sets about staging a clean-up operation in a subatomic sized realm called The Particle Zoo that has been plunged into chaos following the mysterious breakout of all manner of Gluons, Leptons and Bosons.
So, that solves that conundrum, eh?
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is, fittingly enough, comprised of two distinct elements, one being platforming where you traverse the environment and collect rogue particles as well as focusing heavily on using puzzle mechanics to help expedite the process. For those who balk at the idea of playing a puzzle game, Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark generally relies on environmental puzzles, so they’re generally not all that mentally taxing.
The core mechanic that Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is built upon is through the use of the titular quarks – The brightly coloured particles that, when combined with two other quarks serve to form Hadrons such as Neutrons and Protons.
The properties of the quarks serve a slightly different purpose here, forming to create objects such as missiles, nets, drills, helicopters, giant green balls impervious to slime and much more. This is achieved through collecting quarks from each of the four colour categories – Red, Blue, Green and Yellow – And then using the shoulder buttons to use different combinations for different results – For example, three yellows will create a helicopter propeller that can lift you above the stage for a timed period and three reds will create a temporary platform but using a combination of red and yellow will create a glider.
These combinations – Fourteen in total by the close of the game – Can be a little overwhelming to get to grips with upon your initial play, even with the handy guide to each permutation available on the menu screen. You do start to memorise them over time but, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be constantly conjuring up the wrong item during your first few hours of playing; this isn’t really an issue in most of the areas but some severely limit your supply of Quarks and using the wrong ones can impede your progress to the point where you have no choice but to return to a previous checkpoint.
Tasked with quelling the rebellion of those kept within the walls of The Particle Zoo, your main duties boil down to making your way through platforming sections using your quarks to aid your movement as well as to capture the rampaging particles. You’ll seek out certain items and perform tasks for a menagerie of quirky characters and that’s pretty much the main crux of the game.
It may sound a little bland but rest assured that, aside from a few rage inducing chase sequences, the simple task of cleaning up the zoo will more than keep you occupied. The solid gaming mechanics of Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark are bolstered by an impressively amusing and astutely written script and some great voice work, particularly from A.J. Locascio, who will be familiar to anyone who has played the Back to the Future series from Telltale Games.
With a nice mix of the endearingly goofy and the type of jokes only someone who follows pages like ‘I F**King Love Science’ will get, Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark has something for everyone, removing the barrier for gamers who may think that the themes explored in the game are too lofty for them to wrap their heads around.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark played relatively smoothly throughout my time with it, although I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention an odd glitch that would render my drill useless, forcing me to restart countless times until the game decided to let me finally break through the platform beneath me. The level design can be a little on the dull side at times (Although I’ve read that some areas are procedurally generated, which may go some way towards explaining this) and the collision detection can be a little iffy at times but, overall, Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark offers up a solid platforming experience that is innovative and challenging but not to the point of alienation.
Graphics and Audio
Graphically Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark does the job, with some great character designs rendered in a 2D environment. The levels themselves can look a little simplistic and repetitive, although again this is mostly due to the procedurally generated sections, with the main puzzle areas generally brimming with personality.
The audio is also of an admirable quality, particularly the aforementioned performances of the voice cast. The music helps set the tone for the game but isn’t exactly memorable and hearing the excited jubilation of your quarks as you collect them can get a little grating but for the most part it’s a pleasant, if unremarkable, listening experience.
With a fresh perspective on the platforming genre, a killer central mechanic and a genuinely hilarious script, there’s a lot to like about Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark, not least of which is its meagre price tag.
Sure, mileage may vary depending on your stance on the genre as well as the subject matter but give this quirky little gem a chance and Schrödinger’s plucky little feline will almost certainly find a place in your heart.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark
Developer: Italic Pig
Publisher: Team 17
Reviewer: Sean Warhurst
Available on: PC, PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One