Portal Reloaded is Worth Your Time(Travel).

After several head scratching hours in the fourth dimension, I've finally finished Portal Reloaded, a user created campaign that offers a new, mind bending twist to the classic Portal formula. The mod introduces a rectangular green portal that lets you time travel. Simply adhere it to any of your typical portal surfaces, step through and you'll pop out of the same wall you just walked into, but 20 years in the future, which, by the looks of it, isn't doing so well. Future test chambers are dilapidated structures filled with debris, not unlike the early chambers you encounter in Portal 2. GLaDOS would not be happy.

While the future chambers are geometrically similar, if not identical, it's how you can interact with objects between them that the meat of the puzzles are constructed from. For example, take the trusty weighted companion cube, ever faithful, always waiting. If you find a cube in the present you can go through the future portal and find the very same cube waiting for you. You can then bring future cube back to the present where it can meet itself. I like to think this assures the present cube that I will always come back for it.

Operating within two test chambers is all good and fine but where things get particularly interesting is how objects in the present affect the future. Moving a cube in the present automatically moves it in the future as well, however, if the future cube is in the present chamber it will fizzle and go back into the future. Portals placed in the present will also be waiting for you in the future, but portals placed in the future won't overwrite placement in the past. If you're clever, you can navigate puzzles with 4 portals instead of two, or set up flings that will have additional zoom as you sail from one timeline to the next.

Need a light bridge in your timeline but don't have one? Go to the future chamber and connect that one to the time portal! Bam. Infrastructure achieved.

I keenly remember the first time I picked up a reflector cube in the present and placed it in front of my time portal so it would reflect a laser beam from the future to a laser point, only to have the future cube pop into existence in the future chamber and block the beam from reaching me. Excuse me! Who put you there?! Oh, I did? Carry on.

Much like Portal, there are several early chambers that serve as introductions to the new mechanics that naturally flow into you discovering advanced techniques that make you feel like a galaxy brain when you get that "ah-ha" click moment.There are only a few new rules to learn mechanically on top the classic linking Portals, but the result is several devious and well designed test chambers (25 in total) that will turn your thought gum into mish-mush.

Writing and presentation wise it feels very "Valve-lite". A mechanical AI voice delivers quippy subversion's between test chambers but they just don't hit the same as the oafish Wheatly or GLaDOS's seething malice. While the final test chamber was an interesting sequence puzzle, I found it a lot easier than the few puzzles before it and the ending was equally mediocre.

Still despite quibbles I can happily recommend playing Portal Reloaded. It's clear most of the focus of the project has been put into the incredibly well designed puzzles. If you long to relive the very first time you completed your first Portal Puzzle, Portal Reloaded will scratch that itch several times more.
I played Portal Stories Mel a little while ago, and really loved it. Some of the test chambers, especially on Advanced mode, were quite challenging. Have you played Portal Stories Mel, and if so, how does it compare difficulty wise to Portal Reloaded?

I have not Played Mel yet. I do plan on it as it looks really well done, I just haven't had the time.
  • Like
Reactions: Pifanjr