Latest News

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Closure (Steam/ PS3)

Now available on Steam
Here is something that I've pondered many times over the years: if a tree falls in the middle of the forest and nobody hears it – did it even make a sound at all? It’s a question of reality, or better yet, one of pure existence itself. In Eyebrow Interactive’s multiple-award-winning indie platform/puzzle title Closure, the only things that actually exist in its world, are those that can be visually seen in the lights that pierce through the overbearing darkness in this strange place without a sun.  

 Closure started out as a freeware browser game developed by a small three man team. It didn’t take long for the world to take notice either, as the game has landed an Excellence in Audio award at the Independence Games Festival, the Innovation Award at IndieCade and was the 2012 Grand Prize Winner at the Indie Game Challenge – not too shabby for a game that hadn’t seen a full release yet. Back in March, Closure made its console debut to a positive critical reception and it comes as no surprise that its recent Steam release isn’t any different.

While a simple polish and cheaply priced console release of the browser version of Closure would have been sufficient for many, the developers have taken what made the original version so entertaining and created an entirely new experience, built on the earlier game’s foundation. If you enjoyed the original, then a purchase here is an absolute no-brainer, but if you’ve yet to experience the eerie mind twisting world that is Closure, you’re in for an absolute treat – no matter which version you decide to start out with.

The weight of the darkness
There have only been a handful of games that instantly grab my full attention and Closure is most definitely one of them. Its visual aesthetics are as instantly captivating, as they’re intriguing. Profoundly dark, to the point of giving off a presence of evil, the sounds of rain can be heard behind the ghastly notes of a lone piano. The image of a spider-like fiend comes into view, brilliantly illuminated in its white chalklike outline by a small glowing orb lying on the ground nearby. The darkness is unnatural – supernatural, maybe.  The circular glow from the orb only illuminates a small section at the very bottom edge of the screen, keeping the vast majority of the screen shrouded in darkness. Picking up the orb and walking forward, the small circle of light moves across the screen with you, eerily trailing darkness in its wake.

Soon after picking up your first orb, you’ll find out that stepping into the dark leads to an imminent death. But this also means that if a wall is obstructing your passage, letting that darkness fall through said wall will allow for safe passage. But, how do you do this? By manually manipulating beams of lights, using orbs and switches, you’ll start unveiling what lies behind the darkness’s veil. It sounds a whole lot easier than it actually is, because the devilish trickery that Eyebrow has hidden beneath the surface of many of the 82 levels in Closure will twist your mind in ways that only the puzzling greats (e.g. Portal, Limbo, etc.) can do. 

While the trial and error gameplay can be a bit frustrating at times, the solution is always just outside of your current way of thinking; awarding you one great ah-ha moment after the other.  Also helping to alleviate unnecessary stress is the fact that you’re allowed to play at your own pace. It doesn’t matter if it takes two minutes, or twenty to solve a puzzle, there’s no time limits or scoring system, leaving the gameplay itself the centre stage to shine.

What once was a solid tree, isn't any more
If there’s a weak link here, it’d be in the story. While a storyline isn’t necessary in this type of game, there’s a creepy narrative that’s trying to break out of its shell here. The spider-like fiend possesses three separate people through masks, changing the playable character for separate environments – the gloomy rain laden forest, a dilapidated factory and the haunting atmosphere of an abandoned carnival. Like a well-written poem, what’s trying to be told here is for you to decide for yourself, but you’ll only see the true ending by finding all 30 hidden moths scattered about in the game. Regardless of if you find anything intriguing from the fragile narrative, the game’s haunting aesthetics and soundtrack will suck you in just as quickly as a good storyline.

Closure is one of those rare games that show the true strengths of indie developers in today’s market. The ideas and desires of the team at Eyebrow Interactive were free to flow into their creation and it formed something fresh and unique that will bend your mind and haunt your dreams. With its Steam release, Closure looks better than ever and comes preloaded with a handful of extras that’s sure to please its fans.  Puzzle fans, don’t keep the door closed on this one!

- Chris I






Review: Closure (Steam/ PS3)
  • Blogger Comments
  • Facebook Comments
Top