Last week, one of the most iconic puzzle games in the history of video games turned ten years old.
Portal 2 is the beloved sequel to the groundbreaking (and mind-bending) game about a gun that creates portals through which you can leap, fall, and maneuver your way past increasingly complex puzzles and locked rooms. You can make portals — blue or orange, one to enter, the other to exit — with the famous portal gun.
Whether there are buttons to be pressed, lasers to be re-directed, or inaccessible platforms to access, your portal gun is the only tool you need to finish the job… if you’re clever enough.
I reached out to some of my video game-savvy friends to ask their thoughts on ten years of Portal 2, and the feedback was unanimously positive:
Each puzzle taught a lesson, building upon your knowledge of the game’s “rules” and “tricks.” By the end of the game, your brain has been re-wired to solve some of the most brutal possible puzzles. It definitely felt like my brain was running at max capacity playing the portal games.
The best puzzle games teach us lessons and allow us to build on those lessons to get better. The more crosswords you solve, the more experience you have unraveling clues and filling in grids. It’s the same thing with Portal.
Another video game enthusiast shared this:
It (along with Portal 1) is one of the only puzzle games that managed to complete from start to finish without resorting to an online hint guide of some sort. It was difficult enough that I felt challenged, but intuitive and logical enough that I was eventually able to figure everything out, which to me is the hallmark of a fun game.
Might also be the first time I ever felt genuine sympathy for a robot in a game. (Or at least the… well, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has yet to play through it.)
Oh yeah, it’s also the only first-person puzzle game I can think of where I don’t want to spoil anything for people.
It’s a rare puzzle (and rarer game) indeed where failure doesn’t feel like failure, and instead feels like a learning experience that pushes you to try again with what you’ve learned. Some puzzles and games make that a crushing experience… but Portal makes it fun. Portal makes it compelling. And Portal makes it all so satisfying when you figure it all out.
And now, as fans mark a decade of brain-melting Portal 2 puzzles, a fan-designed free mod known as Portal Reloaded is set to challenge Portal 2 fans all over again.
How? By adding time travel to the mix.
Yes, your portal gun isn’t just allowing you to manipulate space… it’s allowing you to manipulate time as well.
From the Kotaku article about Portal Reloaded:
Portal Reloaded is a mod, released just in time for Portal 2‘s 10th birthday, that introduces a new set of test chambers and, more importantly, a new portal colour. You’ll still be using the old blue and orange ones, but the green one you’ll also get will let you move through time, as you set up puzzles in one timeline and then move them along/solve them across two different eras, set 20 years apart.
When a game that already lets you bend space to your whim with some clever positioning, the possibility of bending time the same way is practically irresistible.
But will people be talking about Portal Reloaded in ten years the same way they do about Portal 2? Unfortunately, there’s no green portals to tell us the answer. We’ll just have to wait and see.
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