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[Review] Polarity

During the recent steam sale Polarity was a mere 17c. A friend asked if I wanted to do co-op with him, so I figured why not. I’ve gone on to 100% the achievements and I thought I would do a small review on the game.

There are collectable ‘data’ scattered around the levels (green item on the red platform)

As soon as you start the first level you start to compare this game to Portal. With its massive success, any 3D FPS puzzle games can’t really avoid being put alongside their predecessor.

The puzzle components revolve around the main concept of Red/Blue Polarity. Like and like attract so you can walk through lasers the same colour as yourself – but opposites repel, so that laser would kill you, or you mightn’t fall through a platform that has an opposing colour.

It’s definitely not as in-depth as Portal and the story is so insignificant that it may as well not be there at all – but, in a game like this it doesn’t really need a story – just solid level design. For the most part, Polarity has good level design but levels don’t present a significant challenge most of the time. There are some nice sequences where you have to rapidly decide which colour you need, but for the most part the pole changes are obvious and don’t really contribute much.

Only once or twice was I stumped or had to retrace my steps to figure out how to get past. This was mostly due to mistakes on my part – like assuming I couldn’t change colour because in the last level I couldn’t.

There were some genuinely innovative levels mixed in, but often those interesting components didn’t show again in later levels which was disappointing.

Lasers, Wall shelds, Boxes and Box-Holes, Jump Pads

After I had finished the solo levels, I was ready to play the game’s co-op mode – but after getting set up with Hamachi (to emulate a local network), we realised it was single-computer co-op. Split-screen. With network multiplayer so common nowadays, we were very surprised. And looking at the forums, so were many people.
The forums also mentioned that one person could play the co-op though, so I tried that and it was right. The fact that everything had to be done twice was annoying – but the main drawback of this mode for me was that the second player felt unneeded. A lot of the levels player interaction was minimal at best, non-existent other times.

 

End Result

3 and a half stars

Overall, it’s a fairly solid game and it did keep me engaged enough to complete all its levels – and with a price of 17c on sale, I really have to forgive most of its flaws. If you’re craving some more Portal or Talos Principle this is a low-investment way to keep that urge satisfied for a few more hours.

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