Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative is a Portal 2 Mod. It's time to think with Gels! The Portal-Gun is gone, but the testing must go on! Grab the Paint-Gun Device and solve brand new test chambers in ways you've never solved them before!
User reviews: Mostly Positive (1,006 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 15, 2014

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Community-Made Mod

This community-made mod requires that you have Portal 2 installed prior to running this game.

Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative


Recommended By Curators

"Aperture Tag offers relatively engaging and interesting new paint mechanics with rather lackluster storylines and characters."
Read the full review here.


“If you're like me, when you played Portal 2, you covered every room in as much bouncy gel as possible. Well now it's a whole lot easier, and you can color coordinate the walls with orange gel.”

“A surprising and fresh revival of Portal 2’s familiar puzzle elements.”
Jeep Barnett

“It looks great, it plays well, and it lasts 2-3 hours, giving it good value for money.”

Steam Greenlight

About This Game

Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Initiative is a community-made mod for Portal 2, inspired by TAG! The Power of Paint. The familiar Portal 2 gels are now contained within the Aperture Science Paint Gun Device and it's your job to test it out!

Featuring a new personality-core and an original story with 27 polished levels; the mod offers an exciting and fun experience in varied and interesting new locations throughout Aperture Science.

Introducing gels as the core gameplay mechanic completely changes the way you solve puzzles, explore, and survive all the challenges thrown at you!

Key Features

  • New Gameplay Mechanics for Portal 2
  • 27 Original Maps and a Full Campaign
  • A New Character with Original Voice-Acting
  • In-Game Level Editor
  • Single-Player and Co-op Workshop Integration with Source Instances to create your own Paint Gun Maps
  • Steam Trading Cards
  • Full Developer Commentary
  • Completely original Soundtrack by Abarax, Harry101UK, and Christopher McEvoy

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
    • Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
    • Memory: 1GB XP / 2 Vista GB RAM
    • Graphics: Video card must be 128 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0b (ATI Radeon X800 or higher / NVIDIA GeForce 7600 or higher / Intel HD Graphics 2000 or higher).
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Requires a Steam version of Portal 2 Installed
    • OS: MAC OS X 10.6.7 or higher
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo Processor (2GHz or better)
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon 2400 or higher / NVIDIA 8600M or higher / Intel HD Graphics 3000
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Requires a Steam version of Portal 2 Installed
Helpful customer reviews
1,647 of 2,009 people (82%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
After playing the game through to completion, I can tell you right now that this is not worth your time. The paint gun makes puzzles FAR too easy, especially when they begin recycling levels from portal 2 itself. The voice actor I'm sure tried his best, but it was not good, I'm sorry, making the personality core sound like a shoddily modded dimwit. Also, the core is never actually used as a core. It could have remained unrevealed for the entire game and it would have felt no different.

Gameplaywise, I spent a considerable amount of time shouting at the gun's physics. Some levels require you to move quickly spraying gel in front of you, but the physics-based gel BARELY MOVES FASTER THAN YOU DO - as a result, you have to KNOW something is there and spray it long before reaching it or the gel won't register as it lands at the same time you hit. Fail to know, and the level - there's one specific level I'm griping about - becomes a chore where you have to memorize every single thing and prepare for it long in advance - before you can even SEE it.
Other than that, the gel idea just felt too lazy. The whole game felt too lazy. I have seen more effort put into many workshop maps on portal 2 itself.

Would I complain normally? No. But this mod actually has the gall to CHARGE MONEY. And when so many mods are out there that are FREE for Half Life 2, Portal, so on so forth - hell, the entire GAME of team fortress 2 being free, this mod is NOT worth any money, period. It is unpolished, buggy, feels VERY lazy the entire way through, and has a terrible ending that leaves you thinking "That's it?". It tries many times to crack jokes also in relation to the Cave Johnson style in Portal 2, but the bad voice actor coupled with terrible, very obviously poorly scripted dialogue makes it simply an annoyance.

Now, on the other hand, the music is fantastic. A++. Someone give the composers an award. It's one of the only reasons the mod remains playable with all it's issues, lame recycled art style, lame concept, bad dialogue, bad voice actor, bad physics reliance, etc. The music was beyond fantastic and I hope they release it for purchase or download or something.

I was also very impressed with the audio system that utilized speakers to send out music, which rather than simply having some strange background music playing in a game gave a bit more of a sense of immersion, as you know the core is playing the music and that it was intended as part of the level, while also giving the developers a chance to toy with the music using dialogue from the core too.

The only other thing that impressed me was a single plot twist, but personally, I do not find it enough to justify paying for this when so many games that are entirely free can out-match it on all levels.

All in all? DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON THIS. If they ever make it free, which they won't because they're probably getting a ton of cash right about now and don't frankly care, then it is worth it as an above-average mod. As a paid mod, which I can consider a full game? What else can I get for this price...

Well, you wait for a steam sale and literally every single game is as much or less than this mod...
The entirety of the tomb raider franchise is available, with each game costing the same or barely more than this mod...
Civilization 3 is cheaper, along with Binding of Issac, Plants vs Zombies, Half Life: Blue Shift...POSTAL...Half Life Opposing Force...Any of the sonic the hedgehog games (classic ones, which are great)... I'm just running through the list of games under $5 right now and finding ones I know are good. This mod at full price is $7.

DO. NOT. BUY. IT. As mentioned, if it's FREE, it's worth your time. If it's PAID, spend your money elsewhere. Do not support this new "money for mods" deal, because you know others will follow suit if this takes off.
Posted: July 15
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510 of 716 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
I played this for a few hours and it's buggy, incomplete, most of the puzzles require actually doing the objectives, you can typically just blue gel off a couple ledges and bounce yourself to the end. The main voice is identical to how it sounds in the second video if you want a preview; it doesn't really feel like I'm even in anything related to Aperture Science at all as far as aesthetic goes. You can download the same number of hours in content for essentially the same thing playing a wide number of the PeTI maps that over-use gel, especially any ones made in Hammer. Because of that, this really isn't worth the money. If you don't mess around and just do the puzzles, I imagine it's maybe 6 hours of gameplay. At $6.99 you're paying more than a dollar per hour of content.

Deal breakers
-Voice acting
-Writing/story & lack thereof
-Tests aren't blue-gel shortcut proofed
-Fizzler doesn't always disable your gel gun, which causes serious game-breaking issues
-More than an hour of hand-holding for puzzles, including portions where the VA gives you a turn-by-turn, literally, on one of the levels

Deal makers
-The map design is thoughtful: there are a few, albeit non-interactable, ratman lairs and such
-A good couple handfuls of the tests can't be bypassed completely with just blue gel, as far as I've playtested
-You can get like $1.00 back selling the Steam trading cards, while this is new, at least
Posted: July 15
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469 of 671 people (70%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
How disappointing.

At first I was really looking forward to this game as I enjoyed both Portal games a lot and coop in Portal 2 was great. The price is quite high for such a short game (and a mod at that) but I really thought it would be worth it. Oh how wrong I was.

I played just under three hours now, the first 30 minutes I spent adjusting the settings (who the ♥♥♥♥ uses a default resolution this low? - ♥♥♥♥ed up all my windows) and trying to play coop. The almost complete absence of coop maps was a pretty big letdown, the two maps that were working were awfully short. Also the host using the portal gun was somehow missing his weapon, I as player two was shown using the paint gun.

After that I decided to give the single-player campaign a try. The graphics are somewhat mediocre, not terribly bad but far from excellent (those fugly turrets, seriously).
Don't get me started on the voice acting. The original Portal games featured _amazing_ voice acting, some of the funniest ♥♥♥♥ I've ever heard in a video game. And then there's this crap. Some dude with a speech impediment trying to emulate GLaDOS and failing miserably. After roughly the third or fourth test chamber I seriously considered muting the game because it sucked so bad.
Gameplay. Well. I think the basic idea is pretty good as I quite enjoyed the chapters using gels in Portal 2 and most of the puzzles were quite enjoyable but ♥♥♥♥ that jumping. I HATE jumping puzzles in FPS games and for example in chamber 3 there's a rather small margin of error and I died quite a few times over the course of the game.
In my opinion the puzzles were somewhat unique although, having played through Portal 2 two or three times, a lot of elements were familiar and as such not terribly difficult.
Which brings me to my next complaint. It's ♥♥♥♥ing short. Not even close to the five or six hours mentioned elsewhere, two and a half at most. The story has little replayability and there's no multi-player content so that's it. Three hours, five bucks. Killing Floor is five bucks (on sale) and I have nearly 700 hours played there, just for comparison.
Also the end. Seriously guys. You think that's a proper ending? I won't post any spoilers here but I will say it's pathetic.

Bottom line: do not buy. At least not at this time, with an official coop campaign included it may be worth it.
Posted: July 15
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169 of 236 people (72%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Ok, I feel I have to make this review, difficult though it is.
Aperture Tag is a feld of contradictions, and I really am not sure whether to reccomend it or not, and whether or not to review it as a mod, or as a paid-for game, whether I should compare it to Portal or view it as a standalone. And furthermore, I'm not sure if I should review this as the big Portal fan I am, or just as a general gamer.
As gameplay goes, it is fun, that much is easy to say, the makers obviously have a lot of experience with Portal on the workshop most likely, and each chamber is fairly well finished. The puzzles are challenging to an extent, which is as it should be, and only being able to use gels does give an interesting element to gameplay.
As many have said before me, it does fall down a bit in areas like cohesive-ness. The general storyline is 'Here are some tests, solve them' which isnt bad in and of itself, but the problem is this is based off Portal, something well known for its good story, and was one of the main things that made the two games memorable. Additionally, there isn't that much of the gameplay, it's about the same size as the first Portal game. When compared to its big brother, it doesnt stand up because it simply can't, this is a mod, made by a few fans, and it shows through in places like the story, and how the core that shows you around is fairly badly recorded, and basically has a one dimensional personality. The references to Portal 2, even putting you in a few chambers from the game, and how 'Nigel' is a bad mirror of Wheatley show how it is straining to live up to the original in ways it never can.
But I'm nit-picking this in ways that some of you may think is unfair, I shouldn't compare it to the game because it is just a mod etc. But the problem is this isn't just a mod, if it were I would say A+++, and be done with it. No, the thing is you have to pay for this, which makes it a product, which means you have the right to have your say because you're paying for it.
At the end of the day however I just need to review this, so here it is: I enjoyed it, it was fun, challenging tests, new gameplay idea, great soundtrack courtesy of the ever brilliant Harry Callaghan, and for me as a big Portal fan I don't really regret buying it.
Yes, at times it has the slightly unpolished feel of something that belongs on the steam workshop rather than the store, and yes the story falls down a lot, but it's fun, which is what a game should be.
So, if you are a fan of Portal, and you're willing to pay this much, I would reccomend you do. If you are looking for a cheap puzzle game to spend a few hours on (only a few mind), then again, reccomend it. But if you are hesitant, or not that big a fan of Portal, or not that prepared to spend money on a mod, I wouldn't, go spend it on something you're sure of.

TL;DR Fun, challenging puzzles, bad story, short play-time: If you're a portal/puzzling fan, reccomend buying, if you're not, wouldn't reccomend buying.
Posted: July 20
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294 of 451 people (65%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
I remember when I first played Portal 2. It was the christmas of 2011, when I got myself the Portal bundle for just 5€, and that opened my eyes: the perfect game. I loved every second of it. So when I first heard of this mod, I was pretty excited: portal 2, but with a new story and a new gameplay. That could work. But it didn't. Let's see why.

This game started to bother me even before I pressed the "play" button: 5€ for a mod? A MOD? Not a standalone title? I mean, you need Portal 2 to play it, so its clearly a mod. And its into the Portal universe, so its a mod. But 5€. Oh well, some people spent time on it, so I guess its kinda fair. But that was me talking before I finished this game.

As soon as I started, the first thing I notice are the well done animations. Some of them looks very good, and are completely new and not recycled from the Portal 2 game. But that's only for the first 20 minutes of the game, after that they just went "screw this" and started using models and stuff from the game.
The new models goes to "meh" to "is this Ricochet". The vending machine had the worst texture I've ever seen, and I was running this game on High settings. Why did I said the vending machine? We'll see later.

Same goes for the model of the Paint gun. It looks like some kid game you can get at BIG BUY for 5 dollars, all plasticky and with some gel in it that looks so ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ fake. Also, do you remember how was holding a Portal gun? When it shooted portals? How the animations tricked you thinking that you were in the game, shooting these portals? Well, this game can fail this task too by giving no shooting animations whatsoever to this terrible Paint gun, making it look like a DOS game from the early 90s. But that was the 90s. This is frikin' 2014.

In Portal 2 to solve a puzzle or kill a turret you had to think, to make a strategy. To use your brain. Here to kill down a turret its like a shooter: aim and boom, just shoot some blue gel at it and watch it bounce. Really had to use my brain there.

The puzzles are way too easy. Most of them doesn't even take too much time to solve, all the times goes to repeat the same thing over and over until you get to the platform you want because MOVING YOUR CHARACTER AROUND WITH THIS GEL ITS FRIKIN' IMPOSSIBLE. There was not a single moment in the game where I felt like I was controlling the character properly. She was just bouncing around and then straight into the water. Reload from the last checkpoint and start again. Terrific.

A little talk about the new turrets: they look.. terrible. I know they wanted to make them look like a 50s version of the turret, but those are just 2 pieces of metal with a tommy gun on it. They're so ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ugly and useless. But at least I give them credit for trying.

The story is probably the worst part. You wake up in the same way of Chell in Portal 2 (kind of) and you get yourself the Paint gun pretty soon. You don't know whats going on for most of the time. Just solve some test, and then keep going. Until you find yourself at the end, where you have to solve the last test to get some Orange juice (some rip-off of the cake from Portal 1) that they mention.. what? 2 times maybe? In portal 1 they mention the cake pretty much each room. In the end you really wanted that cake, even if you weren't hungry. They build some repetitive propaganda that made you want that ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ cake. Here they just mention this orange cola 2 or 3 times maybe. Oh yea, you're at the end, now you're gonna get it. I don't even care.
There's no narrative whatsoever. Everything its just random. No one or nothing explain to you what's
going on. Chapter 1 its boring and slow. Chapter 2 starts pretty fun, but then gets repetitive very soon, Chapter 3 its the same as chapter 2, without the final zone, the time trial puzzle. I swear it, if the game was gonna end it with that, I whould have feel accompliced. Really. But no, chapter 4, some rip-off of the Thruman show, with fake ambient zone. Relatively useless. Same goes for the 2 finals. Unsatisfactory as hell.

They also keep throwing at your face stages from Portal 2 like "hey, do you remember this part of Portal 2? It was really fun. Now watch that for the next couple of minute while you're being sucked into a tube that its leading to the next stage really slowly with no dialogue."
Yes, I know I'm playing a Portal game, I am Portal fan, I KNOW. THAT'S WHY I'M PLAYING THIS GAME. THANKS.

Another thing about Portal 2 was the speed and the fluency. Sure, you had to stop for a while into a test chamber, thinking your way out of it, but once you where done, you just had to take an elevator and get to another chamber. Here the pipe its sooo slooow and sometimes you have to do some bullcrap to get to the next test that its just boring. It only has one fast moment, that of course is the speed map. That was probably the only fun and memorable part of the game. The 50 second map. In a 3 hours game.

The characters, if we can call them that way, are blank. The protagonist, some retextured version of Chell with a mason-suit, has no personality. No backstory. No-nothing. She's just there.
Same goes for the Core, Nigel, if I remember it right. Yea, because they didn't bother to let you know the name of it until the end. He was probably one of the things that made me rage into the entire gameplay. He tried so bad to be the english funny guy from Portal 2, but he just fails. His voice is poor, the characterization is non-existent, his humor is terrible. Seriously, do you remember one of the main characteristics of Portal 2? The humor. It had so many funny moments with GLaDOS or Wheatley, and so many funny lines that wanted you to replay the game over and over just to see if you missed one. This guy, Nigel, doesn't work. He try way too hard to be kind, or try way too bad to be gentle. You don't really understand what the hell he's doing for the entire game. AND WHY THE HELL IS HE SHOWN IN RANDOM PLACES DURING THE COURSE OF THE GAME? Apparently they didn't have time to explain that, 'cause they never explain that to you.
And one last thing about Nigel's model. He's a Core, right, and what makes Cores different from each other? The color and shape of the eye. So what did they do? They took the Space Core, made the color a little bit more light orange and give it no expressions. I don't even have to add anything to this description.

I'll be quick on the gameplay section because this review is getting way too long. As already established, the character is really hard to control. So what can be even worst than this? Sometimes wall bounce doesn't seem to work. Great.
But heres a good thing after all this text of pure rage and delusion: they added some new gameplay mechanic, like red laser walls that will instantly kill you. That's good, but they had to screw it up. Because how did I find out that they would kill me? Walking right into it and get killed. You know, a little flying text that would say "hey, don't walk into that, or that will kill you!" would have been helpful. Instead we get the same message "press ctrl to stop bouncing" all the time whenever we bounce 2 or more times in a row on the blue gel. THANKS I ALREADY KNOW THAT SINCE ITS SOMETHING FROM PORTAL 2.

And after all this.. review, the only good thing I really liked from the game. The soundtrack is amazing and well stylized with the Portal universe, I will totally listen to that in the future. And also, the idea of a giant speaker during the puzzles is a very good one. Until you run into them and you get your ears blown away by the loud music.

Final Score: 2/10

It's intended for Portal fans. I'm a Portal fan, and I hate it. It's not even worth 2 cents, and it's totally not worth 5€. If the dev had so much time and knowledge of the source engine, they could have made a new different game, that whould have been way better than this garbage.
Posted: July 18
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