After playing The Entropy Center for a while, the truth is that it’s hard to explain for sure what entropy is about. If you are reading these lines, we dedicate ourselves more to letters than to numbers and science, so we prefer to leave the concept of entropy to those who know. However, and as a curiosity, in Tenet, the concept of entropy was used to make the film, so we have infiltrated The Entropy Center to find out and analyze this concept while discovering how to save Earth from destruction embodying Aria and her faithful companion ASTRA.
It is practically inevitable to think of Portal 1 and Portal 2 when seeing the structure that the video game itself follows and the mechanics it uses. The Entropy Center uses time rewind (like in Tenet ) to advance through puzzles, while Valve’s games rely on portals. Each one does it in their way, and although The Entropy Center does not do it with the mastery that Portal had years ago, the truth is that it has perfect ideas that advance, evolve and culminate in a grand final of creativity and originality when combined with physics.
The Entropy Center resorts to other well-known techniques to expand its story, such as investigating some computers, reading emails from employees in the purest Deus Ex: Human Revolution style, or even playing with time using a ball. We will not deny that we have been distracted more than necessary admiring the good hand decorating and building Stubby Games scenes, which denote the effort made in their first video game with varied places and with good taste that make us glimpse what happened in this lunar station called The Entropy Center.
Cause and effect
The mechanics are one and very simple: Rewind objects. As we progress, we can interact differently with the objects that make up the puzzle. We have lacked a little more freedom to recreate ourselves in the puzzles, and although they have more than one solution, we miss our creativity. Most puzzles are not very complex, and we can complete some of them the first time if we follow the logic. But again, what is interesting here is how we interact with the elements of the stage. All interactable elements are in the shape of a cube, and what differentiates them between them is the shape, the rewind and how it affects the stage or character.
Each object has a cause and an effect: If we pick up a box and move it from one side to the other, with our new tool, we can manipulate that path to move that object back as far as we want. The Entropy Center limits that time rewind to 38 seconds, more than enough time to solve the puzzles. It also offers us accessibility options to be able to see the path that the object has made up to that moment or to be able to reset the return time to 0 if we have made a wrong move. This is much easier to understand on the screen, but I assure you that it is as simple as pressing the skip button, thanks to its interface.
The Entropy Center gets into a more complex mechanic than the one used in Portal, which is why they have taken such pains to create a clean and very visual interface so that everyone understands what is happening at all times. It is diegetic; it is part of the video game itself, which gives it greater immersion. It is tidy in its colour and lighting palette, and it shows the importance it had at the time of its development, given the disaster that could have been playable without an interface as clean as the one that The Entropy Center has.
Oddly enough, it also has combat scenes where speed determines our ability to move around the stage. The Entropy Center introduces us to certain tense situations in which we must quickly rewind a column about to crush us or even defend ourselves from enemy projectiles. These scenarios provide a very well-measured variety that clears your mind without straying from their simplicity and encourages you to change your mind for a few minutes.
Although, it is true that during the six or seven hours of The Entropy Center, we noticed repeated puzzles or that the solution was practically the same as the previous two. Some puzzles are too simple because they pose very similar situations. However, they often surprise us with truly inspired puzzles that easily and elegantly exploit such a peculiar mechanic as rewinding objects.
It is a clear example that video games still have many untapped fields. Object recoil is an original, fun, and constantly evolving mechanic in The Entropy Center. It surprises us at every level we complete and wastes the desire to learn on all four sides, with all that this entails. If this is Stubby Games’ first project, it’s more than enough reason to keep them in the spotlight.
We prepared this review with a digital review copy of the game provided by Evolve PR