Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raider of the Lost Quark is a side-scrolling platformer published by Team 17 and developed by Italic Pig. In Schrodinger’s Cat, players assume the role of the titular creature as they explore and solve puzzles in the Particle Zoo of various subatomic particles. The game is a simple game, but it has many complexities using a combo system where players can combine particles to create various effects, assisting them in their exploration and safety within the Zoo.
The story of Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark begins with a nice little explanation on the world that the game takes place in. It’s something along the lines of a pocket world on the inside of a particle. However, this world is soon attacked by a mysterious force that takes control of the Particle Zoo, capturing it in the process. As a result, the Zoo is locked down, and a certain emergency failsafe is activated. This failsafe? Schrodinger’s Cat.
The opening story is told in a kind of funny cartoon-esque format, which also does a good job at leading the players into the world while also showcasing the art style and the kind of humour that the game will be filled with. It kind of has this early morning cartoon vibe to it. You know the ones, those shows that were on between the two badass anime shows in the morning. You get this kind of feeling from the opening that this game might be educational and directed for children. While it’s not 100% scientifically accurate, (although there were Phd’s working on the game, so it may very well be 100% accurate), in my opinion, it’s definitely safe for kids, and it may get them interested in the sciences.
Outside of the opening movie, the game itself tells the story through the gameplay, rather than by using cinematics. Players will advance the story through Schrodinger’s Cats interactions with the games characters, as well as through progressing further and further into the game. It’s a game that’s very light on the storytelling, and instead focuses more on the puzzles and platforming levels of gameplay instead.
The objective in Schrodinger’s Cat is pretty simple. You have to clear each of the levels until you’re able to collect these orange particles called called Charm Quarks or something along that line. The player will need to collect some of these throughout their adventure in the Particle Zoo and use them unlock a door leading to the Boson. However, this task is not easy, as players will have to utilise some creative thinking and tactical use of their coloured Quarks, of which there are four types.
Typically, players will be running, jumping and combining their Quarks to create various effects to assist in traversing their environment. For example, using three yellow quarks will allow the player to fly, while using three blue quarks will create a drill to pierce through the earth. Even more, say you were to combine a yellow and two blues, you could create a drill that would pierce the heavens. Of course, those are not the only two effects, there are some where you can create bubble shields, or platforms, or jump pads and etc. Combining quarks and formulating a plan to get through each platforming puzzle is the main part of the game.
Early on in the game, the player will be in a section of the zoo where they can collect a tonne of these quarks to play around with and test various combinations and their abilities in solving these platforming puzzles. However, the easy section disappears once you finish a certain part of the game and your quark resources become much more limited in scope. This means that you can’t afford to make mistakes, or else you may run out of quarks for a particular puzzle and have to restart the checkpoint.
I actually really liked this gameplay design, as it allows players time to freely play around and find out what works best for what situations as a kind of learning tool. After that, it tests the players skills and creativity in solving these puzzles by restricting them to certain conditions. It can get pretty difficult too, with even using the wrong combination to get the right outcome could screw you over further down the line. However, the game does always give you the right amount of quarks to solve a level, so it’s all really a learning experience.
What I really liked about this game was that it was really non-violent and focused on using your skill and logic to solve problems. The only real violence in the game is slapping around some gluons to get them to drop any quarks that they’ve stolen. It’s a fairly harmless game in this regard, and as I’ve stated earlier, I think this is a great game for children. This is because of the low violence and high thinking that this game requires.
Interestingly, Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is completely voice acted by one person. This is something completely odd, but it works so well. The voice acting is top notch and each of the characters have their own personalities that are all reflected in their dialogue. The game does try to get funny with puns, which may make some people groan, but I love puns so I thought it was hilarious.
The soundtrack is pretty cool when it’s there, however, most of the time you’ll be listening to the ambiance of a level. As someone that grew up with platformers with cheerful and playful soundtracks, the ambiance only was a bit disappointing and a strange departure from the genre. Music is half of what makes games memorable in my opinion, like, Mega Man II is the most memorable Mega Man game, simply because of the soundtrack.
Overall, Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is a really fun game with some really interesting puzzle mechanics. I quite enjoyed the story and the overall progression of the game. It’s definitely a title that tests your problem solving abilities, but it’s not one that’s punishingly difficult either. It’s an ideal game for getting children into games, learning the sciences, or simply as a fun alternative to a medium that filled to the brim with violence.
Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is developed by Italic Pig and published by Team17. This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game and is available on the Xbox One Marketplace for ~$8 (price is in pounds, but I don’t have one of those buttons). This review is based on the release as supplied by Surprise Attack, the Australian Publisher/Distributor.