Published by: Playstack
Developed by: Stubby Games
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Release Date: 11/3/2022
It has been quite some time since I have delved into a puzzle game. When I saw The Entropy Centre I was immediately called back to my days of playing Portal in The Orange Box as a kid. This time, however, there are no portal guns to be found. Instead, your gun allows you to reverse the flow of time for an object that you target. This creates quite an interesting dynamic, where you have to think about what you want to occur and then do it in reverse.
The Entropy Centre is a game that is shrouded in mystery. You wake up with no idea of who or where you are. Everything seems to be going straight down the tubes. It becomes immediately obvious that the game world is literally falling apart around you, and you are trying to find someone else who works there. At first, you will be totally lost, but as time goes on, the story begins to develop in a really interesting way. The entire concept of The Entropy Centre is one that you could actually see happening in some regard in the future. The only gripe I had was that the game takes place around an impending crisis, but the plot never really conveys a sense of urgency to match that.
The character development is quite rich for being a game with no other people around you. This is accomplished in a few really unique and creative ways. For one, the game scatters around a bunch of desktop computers, on which you can read emails between employees of the centre. The other method is through interactions with your AI companion, Astra. Astra is programmed into your time traveling gun, and is with you from the opening moments of the game. You can’t help but feel that you shouldn’t trust Astra (she clearly knows more than you do about the situation), but you are really left with no choice not to, as she is the only “thing” that you can communicate with. Overall, the plot of the game is really solid, and the story is told in a unique way.
The “meat and potatoes” of The Entropy Centre is moving from room to room, solving puzzles to get to wherever you are trying to get. You solve these puzzles with your time-reversing gun, which allows you to move objects around, in addition to reversing the flow of time. As I previously mentioned, this is a really mind-bending dynamic at first. Most video gamers have solved a puzzle in their time playing video games. The difference is that they have never had to do so in reverse. Over time though, you get the hang of this, and it starts to become really repetitive. The puzzles throughout the middle section of the game start to all blend together and really lose their identity.
Near the end of the game, some really interesting puzzle mechanics get introduced (I am thinking of a force field that changes the shape of objects) that shake up the meta, but The Entropy Centre holds its cards for a little to long for this to have a real meaningful impact. A sequel would benefit from more variety across the puzzles, as well as perhaps another feature to your gun.
The Entropy Centre ran well on Playstation 5. I did notice a few frame rate drops every here and there, but overall it performed well. It did make use of the Dualsenses haptic feedback, which was something I appreciated. The graphics felt a little behind the standards of next-generation consoles, but they weren’t awful by any means.
The voice acting was quite a highlight of the game for me. When there are going to be only 2 characters in a game, the dynamic needs to feel lively between them. I was really concerned about this narrative choice at first, but my concerns were quickly assuaged.
The Entropy Centre: a fun journey through time
The Entropy Centre is a serviceable puzzle game with serious future potential. The core concept of the game is really on the money, along with the character development. Some more variety in the puzzling elements of the game, and some easily corrective steps with pacing will push a potential sequel into the top tier of puzzle games. I would recommend The Entropy Centre to anyone who played and enjoyed the Portal games.