“Do I need the light on or is darkness the key to my salvation?” After my latest Humble Bundle download, I spent many long, late nights pondering that question as I slowly but surely worked my way through my latest favorite, Closure. It’s is an independent puzzler that found its start as a Newgrounds flash game. Closure has since been released for Mac and is available via a Steam purchase.
In Closure the name of the game is the manipulation of light, balancing lightness and darkness to suit your needs. Will the spots of darkness allow you to pass through a seemingly solid wall or will they cause you to tumble into the abyss, falling to your inevitable death? If these questions pique your interest, stick with me to learn more about how Closure works.
As soon as you begin your game, you’re plunged into darkness. You see nothing but a faceless, six-limbed creature, a ball emanating light, and instructions to press the A key. Some quick experimentation teaches you to pick the light up and carry it around, the basics of gameplay.
Once you begin to tote the light around, you learn more about the workings of Closure. It takes no time to realize the importance of light. Without light, you cannot see, touch or use any surfaces. Darkness in general means danger and death, making your small ball of light essential to your health and movement. You learn to move, to discard one ball of light in favor of another and to always strive to make your way through the final door at the end of each level.
As the tutorial adds additional elements, the final techniques you must master are the various ways in which you can interact with light. You’ve long understood the ball of light you carry, but additional opportunities abound. The tutorial briefly exposes you to the swivel light which you angle about according to your needs. You are also exposed to platforms which hold the balls of light. Depositing such a ball into the platform causes the platform to move, allowing you to navigate in ways which were previously impossible.
The Imminent Frustration
Post struggling your way through the tutorial, the real fun begins. You’re first taken to the level selector. Here you can choose from three doors, each leading to a different world comprised of 24 levels.
When you enter a new world, Closure really starts to show its quirkiness. Your character becomes something new, whether you lose a limb, change genders, experience a costume change or grow a new face. As your character morphs, so does the world around you, placing you in challenge after challenge.
Of course this review isn’t complete without at least a taste of the puzzles you have in store, right? I don’t want to spoil any solutions for you, but levels include a variety of challenges. You might have to figure out how to jump through a solid wall with just one ball of light or figure out how to angle five different lights in the perfect way in order to traverse the only walkway available that level. You’ll need to collect keys and deal with light that gets fainter the closer you get to it.
The challenges are incredible in that they are all somehow quite unique. With 72 levels you might expect some monotony in puzzles. Fortunately, while concepts are expanded upon from puzzle to puzzle, each level offers a very distinct challenge not found in other levels.
As I experienced (and I’m sure you will too), Closure is quite frustrating. I cursed with quite some regularity while playing through the game, and I’m sure your experience won’t be any different. At times I had to shut my laptop and walk away, to avoid my desire to throw my computer against a wall. The game kicked my butt a lot of the time, and you know what? I loved every second.
Closure is tough but never impossible. Every level had a solution I could eventually figure out and this was something I noticed from the tutorial on. Elements are added throughout the game (while the tutorial is comprehensive, it certainly doesn’t expose you to everything). The elements within the game are magnificently done. The game is as artsy as it gets, but never to a bad extreme. The sights and sounds pair perfectly with the frustration and despair you are sure to feel as you struggle to make it through “just one more level” before you finally crash for the night.
I really have nothing bad to say about Closure. The controls were a little frustrating at a few moments, but it was rarely an issue. What impresses me more than anything though is my desire to continue playing Closure. I’ve got just a few levels to beat and I don’t know what I’m going to do when the game is over.