Attractio is a new first-person puzzle game from Mexican developer GameCoder Studios. For anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Portal series from Valve, you will likely feel right at home, as this title is very much in that same ballpark. However, unlike with Portal, we came away from this experience with a lot left to be desired.
The biggest issue is that the game just doesn't make a very good first impression. While we absolutely feel that graphics aren't the only thing to pay attention to, there's a line where you can't help but complain about it. Attractio crosses that line with flying colours, as, at best, this title looks like an early PlayStation 3 release. This isn't limited to just the textures either, as the animations are also not great – in fact, we'd go so far as to call them bad. What's more, in conjunction with these visually lacking characteristics, the game delivers truly painful voice work. While we usually find ourselves in favour of voiceovers if the opportunity arises, this game might have been better off only using text scrawls, as the performances just aren't good.
We might have been able to overlook all of this if the story offered some quality writing, or at the very least functioned as an interesting framing device, but the release unfortunately does neither of these things. The premise of the game is that candidates compete in a variety of "trials" on a reality show – called Attractio – in order to win a hand-selected prize. These range from things like a monetary payout to freedom, as one of the contestants is actually a prisoner. You assume control of all three characters in the game – Mia, Keir, and Dalek – and each has to solve different conundrums.
This brings us to one of the better aspects of the title: the puzzles. Gravity-based puzzles aren't exactly revelatory when it comes to games these days, as quite a few releases have pulled this off to varying degrees, but Attractio deftly delivers some fun head scratchers. Dividing the types of puzzles between the characters also helps mix up the variety as you progress through the game's several hour run time.
For instance, Mia has gravity boots that alter her personal gravitational orientation, making for some clever flip-flopping puzzles. Meanwhile, Keir has a gravity gun that allows him to directly alter the gravity of objects around him. Lastly, Dalek's puzzles are more focused on using objects in the environment to alter the gravity of his puzzles. This includes manipulation of things like switches, energy barriers, and crates that can alter the gravity of other things in the levels. The types of puzzles that you're asked to solve with each character all end up feeling distinctly different from one another, and the game is absolutely better for it.
Like any good puzzle game, the learning curve also starts very gently before it slowly gets steeper and steeper, so by the end of the game, you're forced to deal with some genuine challenges. The puzzles are also satisfying to accomplish, particularly the later ones, when they start getting a lot more complicated. It's just rather unfortunate, then, that so many subpar elements surround the puzzle mechanics themselves.
However, while the mechanics do work well, and the gameplay offers a nice variety of challenges, the fact remains that gravity puzzles on their own aren't really enough to set the title apart from the rest of the crowd. What's more, Attractio is also somewhat unpleasant to play for long stretches of time, as the reality show framing device wears thin very quickly. Again, this is something that might have been remedied by improved voice work, but even then, it's still poorly done.
Lastly, the game has also been slapped with a $20 price tag, which, while not obscene, comes off as feeling over-priced given what's on offer – and this is especially true when considering the crop of digital games available for the same price or less.
Attractio has solid puzzle mechanics that it uses well and they're varied enough to remain interesting, but they're surrounded by grossly outdated visuals, poor voice performances, and an obnoxious narrative. For $20, the game doesn't really justify its price tag.