Review: APT Is Portal-Inspired Puzzle Platforming Done Deliciously
Think of APT as Portal 2's challenge mode on the Unreal 4 engine, but instead of portals you have tethers and rocket jumps. Does it work? Read on and find out.
- Worth The Time?Worth the frustration, you mean?
- Things LovedThe game is stylistically gorgeous, and evokes a sense of wonder in its design; Tests are adequately challenging, borderline frustrating, but always manageable; The game has an undeniable charm in it.
- Things HatedThere's not a whole lot else going on here; The game is prone to crashing based on your setup; Controls aren't quite on-point, which sucks for a game that requires precise control to get perfect scores; The crosshair can sometimes blend into the background, causing you to lose focus for a second; As a result, there are some technical frustrations to be experienced.
- RecommendationPlay this game if you like puzzle platformers, or if you just enjoy tearing your hair out. APT offers both of those is droves.
- Name: APT
- Genre: Unreal 4 Portal
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: RIP Studios LLC
- Publisher: RIP Studios LLC
- Price: $14.99
- Reviewed On: PC
APT is a game about testing things. In that way, it draws immediate and obvious comparison to the Portal series. Like Portal, you are playing a first person puzzle platformer of a sort. Like Portal, you are armed with a gun that helps you to get through each level. And like Portal, you are going to tear your hair out before you get through all of its levels.
The one part of the game where it starts to drift away from Portal, understandably, is in its story. It has the same basic concept of a female protagonist (voiced, this time!) who is brought in to conduct a series of tests. As a result of agreeing to do this, her mind is temporarily wiped to help her achieve maximum focus on her testing. But whereas in Portal that sets the scene for a fascinating narrative, here that’s really about it, until you’ve finished all the tests.
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The tests themselves are presented as a series of trials, increasing in difficulty as you go along. You are armed with a gun that you can use to “tether” to what I’m going to call floating balls (heh). You are also armed with a rocket jump of sorts, which you can use to help you get further much in the same way as a double jump but on steroids. You can also use your weapon to remote-enable switches in areas, some that stay active and others that are timed or disable when another switch is enabled. And that’s the long and short of navigation, with not a whole lot else going on.
Successful completion of a trial will yield a medal based on your completion time as well as how many times you used abilities, with the usual bronze, silver, gold, and diamond up for grabs. Should you achieve a higher medal, your character will celebrate with a rather hilarious dance, increasing in hilarity as you get better scores. You can then opt to replay the level, perhaps to try for a better time, or you can move on to the next level.
If you tire of trials, there are also challenges for you to try out. These include what can only be described as a shooting gallery of tether balls, a game of trying to stay in air as long as possible using your abilities, and finally the game’s most difficult level as created by the developers which you win simply by completing it. I say simply, it’s anything but. There exists some potential here for lots more created content, but I can’t yet speak for the quality or existence of such.
Unfortunately there’s no real story to speak of, over and above that. While the tutorial put a massive smile on my face, and was really well thought out, I was hoping for more along the course of the game, and I didn’t really get it.
On the technical side, APT is artistically gorgeous. It looks every bit as though it was imagined by Daft Punk, and certainly has the soundtrack to back that up (note: not Daft Punk songs, that would just be too awesome). Kudos must go to developers RIP Studios for making great use of the Unreal 4 engine here. Prior to reviewing the game, what sold me on its concept were the beautiful trailers. When playing, it remained every bit as exciting and entertaining, watching random blue sparks everywhere to the backdrop of calm whites. It’s a visual treat.
Sadly, and I suppose it shows the relative freshness of the Unreal 4 engine, the game is rather prone to crashing. I experienced a handful of crashes, specifically when running Firefox in the background. The game expressly warns you to switch off FRAPS as well, because it interferes with DirectX 11. So that wasn’t particularly great, and otherwise soured the experience a bit. Nonetheless, the game mostly made up for it in being a delight to play through. A mostly positive experience then, marred by some technical issues, and not a whole lot going on over and above the standard trials.