Attractio Preview – E3 2015

June 28, 2015

A smaller game I checked out at Namco Bandai’s E3 booth was Attractio, a new first-person puzzle game that plays like a cross between Portal and VVVVVV. Like those games, it takes place in a futuristic facility, except this time you appear to be on some kind of space station, on a reality show where contestants have to brave several dangerous traps and courses to win. 

I played through the first few tutorial levels, which mainly involved carrying boxes (that old stable of first-person puzzle platforming) to pressure plates to unlock doors and proceed to the next area. Occasionally, you’ll switch from character to character to experience their side of the unfolding story.

After a few minutes of this, the main conceit of the game is revealed, as you unlock the ability to reverse gravity. Gravity and attraction are core concepts of the game, and many of the traps and puzzles revolve around your understanding of what things are attracted to where. You’ll often have to carefully plan your movements to traverse rooms, as being able to control gravity opens up a whole world of possibilities for you. For instance navigating around a pit of lava/energy that has consumed the floor is now made simple, by using both the floor and the ceiling as platforms – as long as you’re aware of where you’ll be landing when you reverse it back!

One standout early level took place in a tall vertical space, with tetronimo-esque shaped platforms around the edges. These formed a stairway of sorts down to the floor, but of course also provided a means of getting back up should you reverse gravity.

The other major gameplay aspect I saw involved the objects you interactive with, as they can have their own gravitational attraction as well. Boxes in some levels were attracted to one wall more than others, meaning that once you place them down, they may fly to the left. This did present a challenge in some areas, as you obviously don’t want your only chance of getting out of the level flying out of your control and sticking to a part of the wall you won’t be able to get it back from. There’s a lot of room to experiment with this concept, and I’m keen to see what else the developers can do with it.

The game has been successful on Steam Greenlight, with a full release on PS4, PS Vita and PC at some point in the future, but hopefully before the end of the year for puzzle-fans waiting for something a little bit different.