Steam on Shuffle: Closure
Light is your best friend and worst enemy in the stylish puzzle platformer by Eyebrow Interactive, Closure. The game is played out through the eyes of three characters each in their own distinct world. A worker escaping a complex factory, a young woman who looks to have been in a horrible car crash in the woods, and a small child chasing her cat through a sinister looking circus. Each story tied together through a spider like demon that seems to be guiding them all to safety.
Hand painted backgrounds and a haunting soundtrack help to create the dark eerie vibe of the game, darkness isn’t just for atmosphere though it’s the main game mechanic. Manipulating the various light sources in each level will phase walls and platform in and out of existence. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Moving a spotlight off of a wall will let you jump through it like it was never there. It really changes up how you would approach a typical puzzle and forces you to move at a slower pace and think out each decision. Moving a light to reveal the exit seems simple enough until you realize the platform you were just standing on has now vanished and you are falling into the abyss.
Each of the three main worlds contains 24 levels and has its own mechanic to set it apart. The factory worker has buttons that need to be activated and positioning objects on the map to progress while the woman in the woods revolves more around static elements of the environment, so each of the worlds need to be approached slightly differently to solve the puzzle within.
On the downside they can get a bit repetitive. A few of the levels are just down right annoying as well. Not challenging, just fucking monotonous. A few levels have you just carrying a key from one side of the screen to the door on the other with a few movable orbs to light up the path, the solution is to drop the key, move the light source a few steps, pick up the key, drop it again and move the left a few more steps. repeat until you are at the door. That’s not a puzzle, no thought is required, just boring repetition. A handful of other puzzle require perfect timing or damn near pixel perfect placing of objects which not only which not only breaks the pacing established by the other levels but is infuriating due to the somewhat clunky controls. The controls being a little spongy and slow to respond is no big deal in the rest of the game, works fine up until you’re at one of the parts requiring a quick reaction and the split second the game takes to register you pressing a button is the difference between moving forward and starting over. On those levels I didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment when reaching the exit, I felt pissed the fuck off that I found the solution in all of 10 seconds and spent the last 10 minutes fighting with the game to let me do it.
There seems to be some sort of memory leak in the game where repeating one level a few times will cause the frame rate to crash and everything get choppy as shit. With that issue it really is best to close the game and step away for a bit when you do get stuck.
Those few shortcomings aside, Closure is over all a solid puzzle game. The actual platforming aspects are lacking due mostly to stiff control, that is a small fraction of the game though so it’s forgivable. The light mechanic really forces you to consider what you can’t see when plotting out how to move forward. Environments are creepy in a subtle way with little background flashes of “What the fuck was that”, and little details really pull you in like the soundtrack getting distorted and almost panicked the times you need to move underwater.
Closure actually has a pretty deep story hidden in there that you may not notice because of how absorbed in the puzzle solving you are. Hints of purgatory and salvation with a little dash of Lovecraft just for good measure sitting on the periphery. The fact you may miss these subtle details until the end speaks to how immersive the game as a whole is. It’s almost like those things don’t exist until you shine a light on them