If you paid attention in Physics class or are an avid Science fan then you’ve probably heard of Schrödinger’s Cat. It’s a famous thought experiment, proposed in 1935, to illustrate the quantum theory principle of superposition.
Trying to keep things as simple as possible the idea was that if you place a cat inside a steel box, with a dangerous substance that could kill it, you don’t know if the cat is alive or dead until you look. (There’s a proper explanation on Wikipedia for those interested). If you’re still confused then don’t worry as you don’t actually need to understand it to enjoy the game.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is a puzzle-platfomer that takes ideas from quantum physics. You play as the Cat who is called to help when things go bad at the Particle Zoo. The game is really as bonkers as it sounds.
The Cat can do normal platform game things like run, jump, crawl and punch. To help you in your quest to capture the missing Gluons, Leptons and Bosons you need to make use of Quarks. Science geeks will know that there are six flavours of Quark – Up, Down, Top, Bottom, Strange and Charm. Four of these are available to help you in your quest – Up (Yellow), Down (Blue), Top (Green) and Bottom (Red).
Quarks can be found all over the levels and walking over them attracts them to follow you. Making use of them is the clever bit which requires you to combine them into groups of three. How you combine them is up to you and will depend on what you are trying to achieve. Each type has their own primary use with Up for Carrying, Down for Drilling, Top for Protection and Bottom for Construction.
So for example you can use three Yellow Quarks to create a helicopter of sorts to life you into the air a short distance, Blue can be used to drill down through breakable platforms, Green will protect you against environmental hazards and Red will let you create platforms.
Taking the idea further you can also throw together mixes of different types of Quark. So Blue and Yellow can create a projectile, Red and Yellow can make a moving platform. Red, Green and Yellow will create a net to capture the rogue particles.
Remembering all the different ways to use these Quarks takes a bit of time and practice. To help you learn there are useful tutorial boards scattered around the levels. Also the pause screen contains a neat visual aid to help jog your memory.
One thing we found while playing is that much of the time you can rely on only a few of the Quark combos to get by. This is especially true in levels with an abundance of Quarks. The levels where they are limited seem to work a lot better and can have you scratching your head.
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A fun poke at the Schrödinger’s Cat idea is that when things go wrong and you die you’re actually alive instantly again.
The various characters look great and are animated well but some of the level designs aren’t that nice to look at. The voice work in particular deserves a mention as it is wonderful and often very humourous (more so if you like science jokes). Sadly the Cat has a habit of repeating the same one-liners over and over again which starts to become annoying after a while.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark scratches that puzzle-platformer itch and will please fans of the genre. It can be a lot of fun but does eventually get repetitive. While not a requirement to play those with an interest in science and physics are likely to enjoy it the most.