Any regular readers of Geeky Hobbies will likely already know that I am a huge fan of puzzle games. The Portal series is one of my favorite video games of all time. Puzzle games are easily one of my favorite video game genres as it is hard to beat a good puzzle. With my love of the genre, I have tried to find a worthy successor for Portal. I have played a lot of good Portal-like games, but they all fail to reach the same level as. I was hoping The Entropy Centre would finally be that game. The Entropy Centre is a fantastic puzzle game and arguably the best puzzle game I have played since Portal 2.
In The Entropy Centre you play as a woman named Aria. After a strange dream you wake up in a facility known as the Entropy Centre. The Entropy Centre is an organization that was formed in order to stop extinction level events. As you explore the facility you soon realize that you appear to be the last remaining person in the facility. When you encounter ASTRA an AI powered gun that lets you rewind time, you must work together in order to explore the facility and hopefully stop the extinction level event that is on course to destroy Earth.
For the most part The Entropy Centre is a puzzle game. While there are some occasional real time action sequences and a little combat, most of the gameplay is built around solving puzzles.
The Entropy Centre’s puzzles are built around the use of ASTRA. Basically ASTRA is a gun that you can shoot at certain objects in order to rewind time. For example you can use this to repair damage to parts of the facility. Say a platform collapsed. By standing on it in its collapsed state and then rewinding time, you can lift yourself up to a higher position.
You will mostly use the ability to rewind time to manipulate the positioning of cubes that you need to use to solve the puzzles. There are a number of different cubes that you will use throughout the game. These cubes include normal cubes, ones that launch you into the air, ones that shoot out a laser, ones that project a bridge that you can step on, and a number of others.
When you interact with a cube you basically create a record of its positioning through time. When you rewind time for the object, it will rewind through its previous path. The game only records a limited amount of time though, so you need to be somewhat precise with your movements. You will use this ability to manipulate the position of the cubes to help you get to and open the puzzle’s door.
If you have played a lot of puzzles games like I have, this might sound familiar. That is not surprising. You can easily see some of the games that the developers used as inspiration for the game. The comparison that most people are likely going to jump to first is the Portal series.
In a lot of ways I agree with that assessment. The Entropy Centre has a very similar feel to Portal. The actual gameplay mechanics are quite a bit different than Portal (time manipulation versus teleporting portals). The gameplay still has a very familiar feel.
A lot of people may take this as a negative towards The Entropy Centre. I don’t really see it as an issue though. The game does share a similar feel to the Portal series, but I see that as more of a positive. In a way the game kind of feels like Portal 3 minus the gameplay tweak. The puzzle design seems very similar to Portal’s despite the different gameplay mechanics.
I have played a lot of different puzzle games that have tried to recreate the Portal formula. There are a lot of games that I would consider to be quite good in this genre. Despite this I seriously might consider The Entropy Centre to be the best game in this genre since Portal 2. Simply put The Entropy Centre is a fantastic puzzle game that fans of the Portal series and games in this genre should absolutely love.
There are a lot of things that I loved about The Entropy Centre. I think the game’s greatest strength is the puzzle design. This is key as puzzle games live or die based on the puzzles. The puzzle design in The Entropy Centre is simply fantastic. If you are looking for an insanely difficult puzzle game, it may not be for you. The puzzles work though because they are so cleverly done.
This begins with how the game introduces new mechanics. Pretty much each new chapter introduces a new cube or other object that you can interact with. The first puzzle in each area gives you an introductory puzzle in how to use that object. Then the game starts working the new mechanic into puzzles with objects that you are already familiar with.
This might sound like every other puzzle game that does a good job introducing new mechanics to players. The puzzles really shine with how they utilize the mechanics though. There are a number of different ways to use the objects to proceed in puzzles. These will be repeated in future puzzles. The game does a really good job tweaking these though to feel different forcing you to approach situations in different ways.
In a way the fact that you can rewind time impacts how the puzzles are structured. Normally you would solve a puzzle taking it one step at a time. In The Entropy Centre though you are actually better off starting at the final state of the puzzle and then moving backwards. For example in a lot of puzzles there is a floor plate that needs to be pressed down in order to open the exit door. As you can’t step on it and move through the door, you need to use one of the cubes to press it down. This is usually where you start the path of one of the cubes. You then need to work backwards until you have programmed in all of the necessary movements.
There are a number of puzzle games that have utilized time manipulation as their main gameplay mechanic. I don’t know if I have played one that has done a better job with the mechanic though. The puzzles in The Entropy Centre make logical sense where if you just think things out, you can solve them without much trial and error. The puzzles are satisfying to solve especially when you figure out the one thing that was standing in your way.
Those that like a good puzzle game will likely love the puzzles of The Entropy Centre. While the game shares a decent amount in common with games like the Portal series, it learned what things work and what don’t. The puzzles have a similar feel to them, but they have their own unique twist due to the time manipulation mechanic.
If all The Entropy Centre had was its puzzles, it would be a great game. The game has much more going for it though.
Lets start with the story. In many puzzle games the story is either non-existent or barely there. It makes sense as most indie developers would rather spend their time on the puzzles. In addition to great puzzle design, The Entropy Centre has a surprisingly deep and good story.
I am not going to go too deep into the story in order to avoid spoilers, but I think it really good. The basic gist of the story surrounds The Entropy Centre being created in order to stop catastrophic events from destroying the Earth. I was genuinely surprised by the depth of the game’s backstory and world in general. I honestly found the world to be fascinating and one that I really wanted to explore. Honestly it is rare to find an indie game with as much world building as The Entropy Centre. On top of all of this the game is genuinely pretty funny which mostly comes from the two main characters. I wasn’t initially interested in The Entropy Centre for its story, but that quickly changed as it is one of the best that I have ever seen for a puzzle game.
In addition to the surprisingly good story, I was also really surprised by the game’s visuals. I did end up playing the game on PlayStation 5. I got to say I don’t know if I have ever played a puzzle game before that is more visually stunning than The Entropy Centre. The amount of detail in the game is impressive. Most puzzle games don’t put much work into the visuals as it isn’t particularly necessary for a good puzzle game. While the game mostly takes place in a research station, the world is still really interesting due to the world building. I honestly don’t know if there is anything more you could have asked from the game’s visuals.
Simply put The Entropy Centre is one of the best puzzle games that I have ever played. In fact it is almost on par with the first two Portal games. Unless you hate this genre of puzzle games, I think you will love The Entropy Centre and should seriously consider checking it out. I didn’t really encounter any significant issues while playing the game.
If I had to name something as the biggest issue with The Entropy Centre I would probably have to say the game’s difficulty. If you are looking for a really difficult puzzle game, you may be a little disappointed. I would generally say that the game’s difficulty ranges from easy to moderately difficult. Keep in mind that I play a lot of puzzle games so this may have had an impact on my thoughts about the game’s difficulty.
To start I would say that the game is pretty easy. I was able to solve a lot of the earlier puzzle very quickly. This probably applies for at least the first half of the game. The difficulty does ramp up a little in the second half. I wouldn’t say the game ever reaches a frustrating level though. The later levels have some challenging puzzles that make you think outside of the box. The puzzle solutions make sense, so when I had issues it was usually because I thought the puzzles were more complex than they actually were. Despite not being the most difficult puzzle game, I still found the puzzles to be really satisfying.
Another minor issue has to deal with some of the platforming sections. The Entropy Centre is a platformer like Portal is. The game is mostly about solving puzzles, but it sometimes relies on you making jumps for certain parts of a puzzle. You rarely need precise timing/jumps to complete these sections as the game is generally pretty forgiving. There were a couple of times in the game where I had to repeat a puzzle a couple of times after I solved it because I didn’t quite get the jumping right. This is more of a minor nuisance than a significant issue though.
Unfortunately I am not going to be able to give you an exact length for the game. This is mostly due to the fact that as a puzzle game the length is going to depend on how fast you solve the puzzles. The game has a total of 15 chapters. Each chapter generally has around 5-6 puzzles. Between a lot of the puzzles are sections of the facility that you need to explore which add to the length.
If I had to make a guess I would say that the chapters take around 30 minutes to an hour or so to complete. Most are probably closer to 45 minutes to an hour though. Some of the longest chapters might be even a bit longer. I did take time to explore though so that could have extended the length some. If you solve the puzzles immediately it may take a little less time. If you struggle with some puzzles, it may take a little longer. For a puzzle game I honestly was surprised that the game was longer than I expected it to be.
Heading into The Entropy Centre I thought it was going to be a good puzzle game. Despite these high expectations, it actually surpassed what I expected. The game is one of the best puzzle games I have played since Portal 2. The time manipulation mechanic has been used in other puzzle games before, but I can’t recall one that has used it as well. The puzzle design is fantastic forcing you to think outside of the box. While there are similarities to the Portal series, the game is its own thing as well. On top of all of this the game’s story, world building, and visuals are much better than I expected. The only issues I had with the game is that it can be a little easy at times and there are a couple annoying platforming sections. Otherwise The Entropy Centre is almost a perfect game.
As a big fan of puzzle games, I honestly couldn’t really expect anything more out of the game. It is easily one of the best puzzle games that I have played in years. If you hate puzzle games, it probably won’t be for you. If you are a fan of puzzle games like Portal though, I would highly recommend checking out The Entropy Centre as it is likely one of the closest games that we will ever get to Portal 3.
The Entropy Centre
Release Date: November 3rd, 2022 | Systems: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S
Developer: Stubby Games | Publisher: Playstack | ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
Genres: Indie, Puzzle, Platformer
Official Website: https://www.theentropycentre.com/
- Fantastic puzzle design that takes full advantage of the time manipulation mechanic.
- The story, world building, visuals, and length are a lot better than I expected.
- Not the most difficult puzzle game which may disappoint some players.
- There are a couple sections where the platforming can be a little frustrating.
Recommendation: For fans of puzzle games like Portal or puzzles games in general.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Stubby Games and Playstack for the review copy of The Entropy Centre used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.