Puzzle-platformers are all the rage on the PC indie scene these days. Some are merely gimmicky, some will make you thrash your keyboard in fits of blind rage, and some will really get your neural pathways firing. Today we’ll be taking a look at an example of the latter: Constant C by Korean indie developer IGS.
Time for action
Constant C places players in the role of a cute yet sad-looking little robot aboard a space station in the distant future. From a cold opening, the robot awakens to find evidence of disaster all about. After a brief stroll in which he gets acquainted with his settings, the robot learns that the station has hit an anomaly which has suspended the flow of time. The player then encounters a sentient computer referred to simply as “the AI”, who is a massive terminal with emoticons for a face. The AI installs a protective “bubble” on the robot in which time can briefly function as normal. From here on, the robot is sent out to repair the damage, but it seems as if something else is also lurking in the compromised ship…
In the course of his travels, the robot will encounter crates and platforms whose animations have been suspended. Approaching these objects and encasing them in your chronotonic bubble, even partially, will set them in motion once more, allowing interesting configurations to be constructed. Additionally, the gravity may be flipped – a nod to other games such as VVVVVV and Gravity Duck – in which case “up” and “down” become meaningless and platforms may be approached from a multitude of angles.
The gravity of the situation
Initially, flipping gravity is achieved via activating stationary switches. Players eventually obtain the use of a remote control which allows gravity-flipping on the fly, along any 90-degree angle. This means later puzzles require a bit more intuition, as the “correct” way to approach them is even more ambiguous. In addition, deadly traps litter many of the areas, and falling damage will render your poor little robot into a smoking pile of debris. Falling too far is one of the game’s few true annoyances, but thankfully it doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment too much.
The game has an interesting aesthetic that combines cute, clean visuals with a dark and gloomy atmosphere. The setting could easily be taken from the set of Dead Space, but thankfully without the nightmarish blood and horror. The music is minimal and adds to the overall sense of desolation, although it isn’t exactly too memorable. The sound effects function as one would expect, but aren’t anything too spetacular.
Pulling you in
Ultimately, Constant C is a pleasure to play exactly because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The game is cute, stylish and it’ll oil your brain’s gears a bit. You can give it a go by looking into here; it’s only available on Desura for the time being, but the good news is that it has recently been greenlit and will be showing up on Steam in the near future. Sorry, Mac and Linux players, but this one is strictly for Windows only.