April 1, 2012 12:00 PM | John Polson
Eyebrow Interactive's Closure -- Independent Games Festival, Indie Game Challenge, and Indiecade winner -- has its most important challenge to overcome: winning your hard-earned dollar. After spending a frustratingly fun weekend with the physics- and light-based puzzle platformer, the trio of developers definitely makes a compelling case for your cash.
Tyler Glaiel has taken his 2009 browser game, in which light is required to move in seemingly empty space, and expanded the experience into a full-fledged, downloadable title. Controls are tight and explained in-game, and new mechanics are introduced throughout at a gripping pace.
The premise of using light to open up the game space may sound like a mere gimmick, but Eyebrow doesn't stop there. The team innovates with refracting light, permanently illuminating light-capturing sources, creating light-based pathways, charging and opening doors with light-based locks, and more. There are other physics-based objects that add to Closure's puzzles, including rolling barrels, moving light sources in water, and even a frickin' laser beam.
While many games seem to force game-changing mechanics on newly introduced characters, Closure settles happily on using its characters to tell its story. In addition to Closure using its visuals to explain its mechanics, it also uses them as the sole storytelling vessel. The unraveling and interpreting the story of the three characters the spider-creature assumes and its own back story adds to an already enthralling experience.
Since most of the visuals, and therefore the story, are cloaked with darkness, I found it rewarding to illuminate every stage not just to solve the puzzles but to learn more about each character. I was so hungry for more story, and more everything really, that I would stand still on stages with lightning just to get a glimpse of what was hidden in the darkness. That's when I knew that Closure had engulfed me.
Jon Schubbe's disturbing art is fascinating if not slightly misrepresented by the stretched aspect of the game. A quick visit to Closure's official site gives me a better zoom and appreciation on the art in the game. The music by Christopher Rhyne at times really heightens the tension. The music distorts when a character goes underwater, and this effect is quirky, until it goes on for an extended period of time and starts to grate on my ears.
Closure may receive some Braid comparisons, but I believe that will be simply because Closure is another brilliant puzzle platformer. The light-manipulating mechanics and visual presentation are truly invigorating-- the puzzles so much so that I have only completed 75 of the 100 promised levels and have not reached all the hidden stars (or moth-like things).
Closure is available now for $14.99 for PlayStation 3. PlayStation Plus subscribers can grab it for $11.99 during the Spring Fever sale. Eyebrow Interactive has also provided a free demo to test the dark waters. For fans of puzzle platformers, this should be an instant-buy. Hopefully PC and Mac owners (and Vita, please?) won't have to wait too much longer to have some Closure.