Gateways, developed by Smudged Cat. Smudged Cat Games are known for developing Indie games such as The Adventures of Shuggy, Growing Pains and Timeslip. This is an Indie, a lot of people may not be interested in this type of game but I found that the game was fully entertaining.
Gateways is a 2D platformer featuring Ed, who is an inventor stuck in his own laboratory following a strange sequence of events. The plot of the game is formed from on the basis of exploring these strange events throughout the game. To begin the game you are bare with a distinct lack of equipment and items, simple WASD movement and jumping is all you can manage. You’re not far into the game when you receive the gateway gun.
At first glance you may see the gateway gun as a rip-off to the portal gun, therefore branding gateways as lazy. This would be an incorrect assumption to make at such an early stage in the game.
You will notice that as your progress through the game it becomes clear through a couple points that this game is its own. They have coped the portal system and have used to their own means. The whole aesthetic of gateways aids in giving it a more unique identity, stopping itself from plagiarising a single game by crafting a unique identity from elements of several different products. The first initial puzzles in gateways are fun, even if they do come across a bit pedestrian, though it isn’t long until you get the next pieces of equipment that is needed to progress in the game.
It would have been so easy to just make gateways into a Portal knock off but this is so much more than that. After receiving the gateway gun, your next item is a torch this is used for activating light panels to gain access to more places. After this you get a resizing gun, which you can use to fire two portals up at one time, depending on which one you enter depends on how you come out the other end, one transforms you into a mini man and the other a giant. There seems to be lots of puzzles tailored towards this mechanic. You will also receive a mirror which you use for laser deflection puzzles, a gravity manipulation gun and then there’s the time travel gun.
The time travel gun has to be one of my favoured items as it allows you to encounter earlier versions of yourself by jumping through your placed portals. My first thoughts on this I thought it was too difficult to get to grips with. But after playing it for a while and completing a few basic puzzles with it, i found myself slowly starting to understand it. Soon i was completing puzzles whilst jumping over old versions of me, like overtaking a ghost car in a time trial lap.
Whilst exploration plays a big part in Gateways, there are no separate phased levels much like Metroid, even the map looks to be of a similar fashion. At any point in the game you can look up where you’re supposed to go next for the main objective as well as find any unsolved puzzles, this is extremely handy as once you have gained the right items you need to solve the puzzles you can then go back to your unsolved puzzles and complete them. I was surprised at how big the world seems when looking at the map, but then how quickly i could travel a seemingly long distance. This was good to see because it doesn’t make the continuous retracing of your steps as boring as it might seem to be.
Some of the puzzles in gateways can be pretty difficult, particularly once you get the time travel gun. What’s annoying is you can spend a long time on a puzzle and then realize that it is impossible to solve with the items you currently have. This is fixable by spending approximately 15 orbs (these are gateways equivalent of coins) on that knowledge. This is a bit of an annoying move considering that these orbs are a fairly limited source. Each puzzle has the ability to be solved automatically by spending 35 orbs on the solution, although you have to first establish if it is solvable. Towards the end the puzzles get harder and harder to work out if they are solvable or not and some you may find are only solvable with some help.
The puzzle help points are good when back tracking because the puzzle you solved three hours ago may not exactly be fresh in your memory, so you can just replay the solution and the game takes you through it to save yourself a headache.
As I stated in the beginning it is easy to brand Gateways as a knock off of pre-established greats within the puzzle genre. But it’s not it is actually an interesting cocktail of everything that’s good about other games in its genre.
Overall I would personally recommend this game to others, especially those of you who enjoy a challenge. The puzzles in this game will always come across as challenging. You may find yourselves beginning to feel confident about solving the first few puzzles correctly, and think that it’s going to be as easy as a walk in the park, that is where you will be mistaken, the more you progress in the game the more challenging the games. This is a game that i would replay over and over again and see if I can’t complete it any quicker than my previous attempts.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.