Schroedinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark
Schroedinger's Cat is a quirky platforming game with similarities to many early 90's platformers like Earthworm Jim and Oddworld. It's intellectual overtones and thought provoking puzzle mechanics make for an interesting and mind-numbing romp through a unique game world. While the game begins in an exciting manner, it quickly turns into what is best described as a science-nerd's inside joke.
Approximately 6 hours of gamplay (depending on how much you die)
13 May 2015
Steam, Xbox One, Playstation 4
Publisher: Team 17
Rating: E for Everyone
Schrodinger’s Cat is a quirky platforming game with similarities to many early 90’s platformers like Earthworm Jim and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. It’s intellectual overtones and thought provoking puzzle mechanics make for an interesting and mind-numbing romp through a unique game world. While the game begins in an exciting manner it quickly turns into what is best described as a science-nerd’s inside joke.
On the subatomic level, security at a particle zoo housing Quarks, Gluons, and other science terms breaks down and the exhibits escape. The zoo director calls for Schrodinger’s Cat to help quell the chaos and bring things back into order.
Spiritual content: Aside from multiple mentions of evolution and the age of some of the characters there is nothing spiritually significant.
Violence: The violence is cartoonish, mainly the main character punching Gluons.
Language/crude humor: None
Sexual content: None
Drug/alcohol use: None
Other negative themes: None
Positive Content: An interesting introduction to physics and science that those with an understanding of said topics will appreciate.
Reminiscent of early platform games, Schrodinger’s Cat thrives on the player solving various situational puzzles to complete each level. At the beginning of the game, you stumble upon tiny useable characters called “Quarks.” Each colored Quark offers a unique characteristic that allows the player to perform various tasks. There are 4 variety of Quarks: up, down, construction and destruction. As you collect the quarks, you utilize them in combination by your trigger and bumper buttons. Three presses of the left bumper will cause your Quarks to construct a type of helicopter which will carry Schrodinger’s Cat to a higher platform. The use of the various constructions is time-limited so the player must plan accordingly before activating each set of Quarks.
Each level is riddled with obstacles that require the construction of Quarks in order to bypass said obstacle. Some levels give the player an unlimited amount of Quarks to collect and they can be used at the will of the player while other levels limit the amount of Quarks to collect. These levels are much more thought provoking than some others and will cause the player to ration which Quarks to use throughout the levels.
The main “enemy” in the game are slime like creatures called Gluons. They can steal your Quarks from you unless you attack them, causing them to drop the stolen Quarks. In later levels, the player will come across larger Gluons that cannot be defeated and will steal all of the Quarks that are color-coordinated to the Gluon. I.e, yellow Gluons will steal yellow Quarks etc….
Stylized similar to modern cartoons and familiar to many of Team 17’s games like Worms, Schrodinger’s Cat looks almost nostalgic to the 1990’s. The dialogue in the game is silly and snarky at times. The titular cat comes across as a cocky super-heroesque character. Later in the game however, his catchphrases and snarkiness become repetitive and almost annoying. Players can interact with other characters in the Zoo and are given dialogue options to gain further information from the NPCs. This dialogue results in being intellectual drivel that makes no sense to someone with little interest in science and quantum physics. I was often left more confused by the conversation than entertained and found myself skipping past most of the conversations.
The control scheme is user-friendly to a point. With the construction of different Quark machines, I found myself forgetting the various combinations and had to hit the start button to reference the guide. There are far too many variations of Quarks and I found some of them to be unnecessary. In some instances, I could use the helicopter to reach the higher platforms or I could choose to make a trampoline-type machine to jump. These issues usually only annoyed during the levels of unlimited Quarks. When faced with limited Quarks it caused me to have to remember the combinations which I typically didn’t and I constantly had to go back and reference the combinations.
While I didn’t have great expectations for Schrodinger’s Cat, I did leave the game more frustrated than satisfied. I have always been a fan of platform games that cause you to think through various obstacles, but I felt as if there were far too many possibilities that I had to remember. The first few levels of the game were enjoyable and I initially enjoyed creating the machines and using them to complete the stages. The more advanced levels had many additional obstacles and intentionally limited the type of Quarks you could find, consequently forcing you to remember certain combinations to complete the level. This is where the puzzle solving elevated to the next level and had I been more invested in the story or the game itself, I would have enjoyed solving the puzzles. This wasn’t the case, unfortunately, because I felt more overwhelmed with remembering various combinations and avoiding certain obstacles than I felt compelled to complete the game.
Another issue I had with the levels was the need to capture the Gluons after you attack them. On some maps, you could craft a net and cause your Quarks to take away the stunned Gluons, which were tracked by a counter on the map. On other maps, I was unable to capture the Gluons due to limited Quarks and therefore felt like my overall mission to capture Gluons was fruitless.
The dialogue felt as if the writers were trying to prove how smart they were, confusing the average person with words that unless you looked them up, you wouldn’t know them. I liken it to playing a game in French. Yes I kind of understand what they are getting at, but I don’t know the details and felt unintelligent.
For those who like platform games and enjoy solving puzzles, Schrodinger’s Cat may be the purrr-fect game for you, unfortunately it was not for me.
+ Familiar platform style game play
+ Lots of puzzles to solve
+ Unique cartoon style
+ Quirky dialogue
- Repetitive obstacles
- Inside jokes only a few will understand
- Lack of reward to complete each level
- Building of machines not intuitive