Gateways is a puzzle-plattformer
in which you control scientist Ed, who is try to get out of his own laboratory. The game starts with simple jump-and-run and “gateway-puzzles”, somewhat similar to Valve’s Portal
, but quickly becomes more challenging as you find more powerful Items (powerups and modifications to your “gateway gun”) which let you explore new areas of the lab.
Sadly, I found the introduction into the game (and it’s items) unnecessarily hard. For me it was basically learning by doing. New items are introduced via popup-text (which is gone for good if you run away too quickly) and a simple puzzle, in which you have to use your newly found item.
But for me that was just not sufficient. It was until 90% into the game, that I (by accident) found out there is actually a map of the lab, guiding you to important spots, and a key to cancel active portals. Yes, I could have clicked on “CONTROLS” earlier. But why? I assumed, the game would tell me, like any other game would.
This is especially odd, as the ingame-help-system is really awesome
. In the lab you can find 500 “power orbs”, which can help you with tough puzzles: Every puzzle in the game (apart from the final one) has a “HELP”-spot, in which you can spend a small amount of your “power orbs” to see, whether you can actually solve this puzzle with your current items and a BIG amount of your orbs to actually get it solved.
This is a brilliant way to prevent frustration (as long as you save your orbs for those REALLY tough puzzles) and keep the game going. The map, which not only tells you, where you should go next, but also shows every unsolved puzzle you have walked by so far, is also really helpful. I’d go so far to say: without this ingame-help, I would probably not have recommended this game.
Overall Gateways is a decent game with a VERY steep learning curve. The gameplay is entertaining but can become frustrating, especially if you used your power orbs too early. If you like challengig puzzles and don’t mind being thrown into ice cold water, you should have a look at this game!