Quantum Conundrum

 

Learning(i)

Fun first-person puzzler combines physics with brainteasers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game rewards players for thinking through tricky physics-based puzzles, implying that careful thought combined with an understanding of the world are important tools for overcoming obstacles.

Positive role models

The player's character is a child who is never seen and never speaks. The primary personality in the game is his uncle, a disembodied voice that offers a mixture of encouragement, jibes, explanations, and jokes. Players might aspire to his genius, but probably not his lightly prickly demeanor.

Ease of play

Basic first-person game controls should be easy for most people to pick up. The puzzles are wonderfully balanced, never unfair, and slowly escalate in difficulty to remain challenging throughout. Players are provided instruction regarding the objectives and rules within the game and need only apply their knowledge of common physical properties -- such as weight, wind, and time -- to discern solutions.

Violence

Your character can "die" if he falls into an abyss or touches a laser beam, in which case the screen simply fades to black.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Quantum Conundrum is a physics-based first-person puzzle game with little in the way of iffy content. There is no fighting, profanity, and sexuality. The player's character can "die" while trying to solve the game's puzzles by getting hit by a laser or falling over a ledge, but the screen simply fades to black when this happens. The game's focus is to have players use their brains to figure out solutions to challenging but fair puzzles that demand clear and rational thought. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • gravity
  • momentum
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

A cartoonish flair and instantly intuitive first-person controls make it easy for kids to jump in, while the interesting story and environments will keep them playing.

Learning Approach

Puzzles are baked into the game world and force kids to draw on their understanding of real physical laws to discern solutions.

Support

Instructions are provided as new mechanics pop up, but answers aren't given away. Puzzles get hard enough that some kids may need to hop online to see how others solved them.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • gravity
  • momentum
  • physics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • deduction
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination

Kids can learn to analyze evidence and deduce answers to physics-based puzzlers in this inventive and entertaining first-person brainteaser. Players draw from their understanding of real-world physics concepts such as gravity, time, and wind, and combine this knowledge with their grasp of the game's collection of physics-altering rules in order to solve puzzles in a giant mansion. Quantum Conundrum's clever brain breakers give players a vigorous mental workout as they practice logic, reasoning, and puzzle-solving skills.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Kids say

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What's it about?

QUANTUM CONUNDRUM, designed by one of the co-creators of the award-winning Portal puzzle games, puts players in the shoes of a kid exploring a vast mansion/laboratory, accompanied only by the disembodied voice of his uncle, who offers a mixture of light jibes and helpful advice. Kids encounter scores of physics-based puzzles as they progress through the house that can only be solved by shifting dimensions. The "fluffy" dimension, for example, transforms objects into light, pillow-y versions of themselves and makes them easy to toss around, while the "heavy" dimension turns things into metal -- which can comes in handy should you need to weigh down a pressure switch or block an energy beam. As the game progresses players will need to quickly switch between dimensions while applying their common sense understanding of real world physics. By asking themselves questions (such as: What will wind do to a lighter object? What sort of item would break a glass window?), kids should be able to noodle out solutions to conundrums that become ever more multifaceted.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's almost impossible not to compare Quantum Conundrum to Valve's beloved Portal games, but this new contender can hold its own in that comparison. Its puzzles are wonderfully designed -- ingenious, fun, and fair. Figuring out that you must quickly switch between the fluffy and heavy dimensions to change the weight of a box on a rotating handle in order to spin a crank can result in a kind of satisfaction not easily dismissed. This is a game that makes you feel smart and clever, and that’s a powerful motivation to keep playing.

That said, it comes up a hair short of Portal in the personality department. John de Lancie (better known as Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation) does a fine job portraying the game’s uncle character, but hasn’t been given a script as quirky or as sharp as Portal's. However, this may end up working in the game's favor, since its dialogue remains broad enough for a wide audience. Long story short, it's a top-notch physics puzzler with next to no violence that just about anyone can enjoy. Buy with confidence.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about puzzles. Solving them is only part of the fun. Have you ever tried to reverse engineer a puzzle to figure out how its creator made it? Do you think you'd be good at designing puzzles yourself? 

  • Families can also discuss what it's like to play a first-person game without much violence. Can you think of other games besides this one that players view from the perspective of their avatar and that don’t involve guns and weapons? Why do you think such games are so rare?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Price:$13.49
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Square Enix
Release date:June 21, 2012
Genre:Puzzle
Topics:Science and nature
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Quantum Conundrum was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byHaveAnEpiphany August 14, 2013
age 8+
 

Hours of entertainment... with great educational qualities, too!

This game is nothing short of spectacular. My daughter & I started playing through it together when she was 7. She LOVES science and was perhaps slightly more interested than would be typical for that age... nevertheless, we had a blast with this. It definitely opens up some fun conversations about physics and requires you to use some complex problem-solving in order to advance all the way through. She definitely would've gotten stuck and needed some help had she played it on her own at that age, but together we had a great experience. STORY: the storyline is intriguing and complex. You play as a 10-year-old boy who's visiting a crazy "absent-minded professor-type" uncle. And oh yeah, he can't be seen because he accidentally transported himself to another dimension... but he can see you and provides some much-needed info and some entertaining monologues along the way. QUALITY: the graphics are spectacular, music is top-notch... all in all, this game has the quality of much more expensive titles. I am so glad that I happened upon this game utterly by chance one day. It led to us finding Portal and Portal 2 (which share core members of their creative teams with the people behind Quantum Conundrum). We regularly go back together and replay elements of all 3 games. I couldn't recommend this highly enough!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bymagreen9 August 25, 2014
age 4+
 
LEARNING

Great First Person Puzzler!

This is a FPS game without the S. This game centers around the nephew of a brilliant inventor whom is trapped inside a mansion and YOU must save him by going through is mansion. Sounds simple enough YOU ARE WRONG this is a portal kind of game. So it will of course be very hard. There is no language or any violence or blood AT ALL! When you "die", the screen fades to black. The game it self is great and will keep your child busy for a LONG time. Violence 1, Language 0, overall Okay for the whole family! (:
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use

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