Schrödinger’s Cat is an incredibly well-known thought experiment linked to quantum mechanics, where the cat is said to be both dead and alive at the same time, but can only be observed in one of those states. What was left out when this was first introduced back in 1935 is that Schrödinger’s Cat is also purple, walks on two legs, makes corny jokes, and has to bring back the Particle Zoo to order when it all goes haywire. This is where the game’s story begins as rogue gluons, leptons, and bosons are broken out of their habitats by an opposing force.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is a 2D puzzle-platformer set in a location that can be quite freely explored, provided you unlock the paths to various areas. Within each of these areas are particles that need to be caught and returned to their natural habitats. It’s a big task considering there are a couple of hundred of the things spread across the zoo. Handily in each area there is a board which shows how many of each particle exists in that location, meaning you don’t worry about losing count or running back and forth between areas hunting.
Schrödinger’s Cat, or SC as he referred to, isn’t alone in the task of bringing things back under control. He is joined by quarks, of which there are four different types coded by colour and shape. Up is a yellow quark, blue is Down, green is Top, and red is Bottom. Each is used for different reasons with Up provided the ability to fly, Down the ability to drill through the ground, Top gives you a shield, and Bottom can provide temporary ledges.
The quarks are scattered about the place and you’ll soon find you’ll have a lot following you. The high number of them is needed as the quarks must be combined in groups of threes to be useful. The quarks can be mixed together for different results, so for example mixing yellow and blue produces a missile that can be thrown at a wall to break it and create a shortcut. There are 14 different combinations that can be used to navigate the puzzling environments, and each of the combos is quite easy to remember. Generally there are enough of these quarks to allow for a bit of experimenting, but in a couple of areas their numbers dwindle meaning a bit of resource management is needed.
Much of the gameplay will consist of the same kind of thing where you go into an area, stun the rogue particles and then send them back to where they belong. All this is done while navigating through various areas however you see fit be it flying or destroying walls. While it may sound repetitive this approach is fun and making it so the board shows zero creatures is rewarding. On the initial playthrough it did look like a couple of areas repeated in design, though a new game will result in different layouts after the initial completion.
However, there were a few frustrating areas in the game where things didn’t quite work out. In one puzzle area death was common due to SC jumping too high, while the treacherous green goo on the ceiling was too low. I think it was only pure chance that got me through the area. There were a couple of other issues including a bug where the drill move wouldn’t clear all the ground out of the way, with subsequent attempts passing right through the still solid surface. In the end this required rebooting the game to pass the glitch which disappeared after reset. There are also a few chase sequences but only one is definitely necessary for the purpose of the story. The other two were annoying experiences that required a lot of trial, error, and luck to pass.
What is great is the game’s script and humour. I found myself laughing at some of the silly jokes, including a few science based ones. The relationships between the characters were funny, with each one distinguishable, even though they only get a few moments of screen time each. Schrodinger’s Cat reminded me of Marty McFly from the Back To The Future films, and this turned out to be because the same voice actor, A.J. LoCascio, was also in the Telltale game of that franchise.
I found the visual aesthetic of the Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark to be overall pleasing to the eye, with plenty of vibrant colours on display. There was one location though that was unnecessarily difficult where a white background made it almost impossible to spot the white gluons clinging to surfaces. Apart from that design flaw the character sprites looked good, and the environments were clearly distinct from each other. The game looked like a cartoon which is a positive, at least to me.
Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is an amusing game that has just the right amount of challenge to keep it from being frustrating. I found the puzzles quite easy to work out which helped keep things moving forward, with the game itself taking around seven hours to complete. The minor bugs and a couple of questionable design decisions keep Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark from being a great game, but it is a good game nonetheless.
Version tested: PS4