Portal is definitely a one-of-a-kind. It's quirky at best, but it also remains clever, resolute and perfectly presented to those with a quick-wit and a scientific explanation for including physics in a well-thought out and intelligent game, all with a touch of dark humour.
You awaken in the deserted Enrichment Center of Aperture Laboratories; a fictional science research corporation, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Known for the creation of the handheld portal gun, as well as the heavy rivalry the complex has between the Black Mesa Research Facility. (The scientific complex focused in Half-Life. Half-Life and Portal both share the same universe.) in Portal, you play as the silent protagonist, Chell, from a first-person perspective as you are challenged to navigate through a series of cryptic chambers, all the while being accompanied by the voice of the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GlaDOS for short.) which the sociopathic robot subsequently reveals the rest of the plot to the player, through various and long-winded narration throughout the game.
What strikes me most surprised is this game's ingenius concept and profound knowledge of linear momentum and physics. Your only weapon in the game, if you can call it a weapon, is the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. It's main and only ability is to create two distinct portals, an orange and blue portal, which both create a visual and physical connection between two different locations in three-dimensional space. Keep in mind that neither portal are both an entrance or an exit; all objects that travel through one portal will exit through the other. This unique concept will soon be taken to the test, as you explore, solve and escape through 19 mind-wrecking chambers. And what is this reward you get for all this mind-wrecking work? Why it's none other than cake!
While on the subject of sweet chocolate butter-milk frosting, assembled with maraschino cherries on top, this all turns out to be a crude lie, and you're sent to be burnt to a crisp by GlaDOS. As you narrowly escape death, you navigate through the many things that Aperture Laboratories would have wanted to keep as a secret to the rest of the world. You soon (or later, as this game has a way of messing with your head.) find yourself exploring the air vents, the sewers of the facility, as well as the abandoned, deserted offices of those who mysteriously left, along with empty food supplies and crude drawings that uncovers a much darker history of the Laboratories.
But you're not alone in this deranged prison of a laboratory, your square-buddy (and probably only buddy) known as the Companion Cube, will accompany you throughout a few of these chambers, as it has a handful of most needed traits; involving you using it as an extra step for those hard-to-reach places, using it as a shield against deadly lazer spheres and deflecting them into switch mechanisms, and even going as so far to hold out weight-activated button switches. Sadly, with every chamber completed thanks to your Companion Cube, you will have to eventually abandon it and leave it for trash, in the Emergency Intelligence Incinerator. What a true friend to the end!
When cracking down to the lifespan of this game's story, it's actually pretty short. But, with each new chamber you progress through as well as the differculty beginning to rise at a much faster pace, the longer the chambers will begin to mess with your head and could leave you stuck for a good couple of hours, stumped. I'm guilty to say that I even needed a walkthrough to deal with a couple of these cryptic and twisted chambers. But then again, that really ruined the experience for me a little, considering I like to figure things out much more independently. So, if you can unwrap things around your mind quick and efficiently, you may experience the amazement and ingenuity for yourself. I'm pretty jealous in fact!
This game is a massive recommendation for me, the scientific aspect of portal and three-dimensional space used in this game is best described as baffling. Valve must have been truly blessed to ever release this game, as it touched the hearts of kids, adults and professional scientists alike.