The Entropy Centre Demo
The Entropy Centre is a first-person space shooter that isn't actually a "space shooter," but it does utilize a gun, in space. Space? Space! Instead of sentient spherical cores that prevailed in Portal 2, however, there's a sentient device that appears like a rifle, but is actually an entropy device named Astra. Players are in control of Aria, a woman who wakes up in a space station unaware of her surroundings yet finds the place deserted as the only apparent living human remaining. I would say "only living organism," but as Astra points out, plants and foilage aren't sentient.
What drew me into the game wasn't just its premise, but because of the characters themselves. The demo itself contains a handful of puzzles, but the gameplay trailer shows several other sentient appliances, some friendly and some hostile, with unique puzzles that push Astra to its limits. I wasn't sure about The Entropy Centre's gameplay aside from using the objects around you to escape various rooms and solve puzzles. I looked at another first-person puzzle earlier this year, Relicta, and mentioned that it was an earnest effort in a genre that's incredibly niche but it would be great to see another game attempt to rekindle the flames.
So far, The Entropy Centre succeeds in doing just that, however it's not a game that outwardly holds your hand for a solution to each problem. The first fifteen minutes serve as a tutorial, allowing the player to get used to the controls and the utilization of Astra, the entropy device. Astra has the power to rewind time on specific objects, which is tested on a pile of rubble barring the player's path, rewinding it to a state before the wreckage. The entropy power is used on smaller objects, reverting their location to a place up to a finite number of seconds.
The player can use the device to pick up objects, much like the "portal gun," but it takes things a step further with entropy. An early example is a cube with two switches. One switch operates a lift which leads to a door that's operated by the second switch. What the game wants you to do here is place the cube on one switch, pick up the cube and place it on the other switch. Since you want the lift and the door working in that order, you activate the door switch, then the lift switch. Using Astra's entropy powers, you rewind time so the cube activates the lift switch, then the door switch.
It's a lot less confusing than it sounds and the best analogy I can give is video editing. You record content, like The Entropy Centre demo itself, and then you play it in reverse while making minor adjustments to your movement. When it all comes together, it's a brilliant and mind-tickling mechanic that will require some thinking outside the box. Outside of the puzzle rooms, there are hazards barring your path, like an open valve of flame, that require you to use Astra to shut the valve off among many things.
The Entropy Centre demo ends around the first major plot point, watching the Earth explode and using a giant entropy device to prevent this from happening. Overall, the demo was about a half-hour long, but everything about the game is leading in the right direction. The graphics, shadows, and aesthetics remind me of Portal 2, which was its intention. The game has enough of an identity of its own to potentially fill that decade-long void of a proper Portal successor.
The Entropy Centre will release in November on Steam. Also on Steam, there's a playable demo with the option to wishlist the game here.