Test Chamber review


Sometimes gaming breakthroughs are big and loud and in your face. Like the release of Street Fighter II in 1991 and its competitive gameplay revolution, or the arrival of Goldeneye, which helped pave the way for a whole history of multiplayer first-person shooters. But sometimes gaming breakthrough come in small indie packages that either captures the public imagination like Minecraft, Limbo or TowerFall, or disappear into near obscurity forever, like Towelfight 2: Monocle of Destiny or Chu Chu Rocket.

Well, another quiet little revolution has just hit the App Store – and its name is Test Chamber. And while on one level it may look familiar – you guide your hero through a 3D world to get to an exit by pushing blocks around – it also introduces a new mechanic that sets it apart from everything else on iOS.

The innovation is that Test Chamber is set in an infinite and repeating world – exit the top of the screen and your character comes in the bottom. Sort of like Pac Man, but in this case, the continuum exists not just to make the game continue when the character falls of the edge of the screen, but to make the game’s puzzles even more devilish.

In each mind-bending level, you have to work out how to use the concept of infinity itself to your advantage, setting up a block by moving one way before reappearing from the other direction to finish the job off. Or by pushing things in and out of their normal relation to one another to change the way they interact.

The game is very easy on the eye too, but the graphics are really there to underpin the unusual gaming mechanic at its core. And while Test Chamber is no Lemmings, Super Meat Boy, Rogue or Papers, Please, it is well worth checking out to see how a simple new idea can breathe fresh life into a hoary old gaming format.

Also, given you can get the first 15 levels without paying a penny before you unlock the rest of the game for £2.29, you can give the whole thing a Test for nothing before committing to the entire Chamber.

iOS, Android, Windows Phone, STEAM
Free demo, £2.29 full title (9+)

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