The Entropy Centre is a first-person puzzle game from solo developer Stubby Games. Yes, you read that right; Stubby Games is a one-man studio. When you know that Portal required a dozen developers and Portal 2 about thirty before even laying hands on The Entropy Centre, one can only salute Daniel Stubbington’s prowess to release a game as a solo developer these days.
It’s hard to talk about puzzle games without referring to Portal. Don’t let the Ayatollahs throw stones at me; I’ve never played Valve’s title. So the first thing that comes to mind when playing The Entropy Centre is Christopher Nolan’s film, Tenet. I’ll throw the stone at you if you haven’t seen it.
In The Entropy Centre, you play as Aria, a young woman who witnesses the earth explode, only to wake up alone and suffering from amnesia in a science research center in space. After wandering the deserted corridors, you come across a weapon unlike any other. It is equipped with an artificial intelligence called Astra, which has the ability to speak. This weapon will allow you to reverse time using a laser beam to rewind objects and solve puzzles along your way. The puzzles you encounter are both mechanically useful and narratively beneficial as you rack your brains to try and progress through this deserted science base.
A mission to save the world
Astra will accompany you throughout the adventure. She will teach you that The Entropy Centre is dedicated to maintaining a tool known as the Entropic beam, capable of rewinding earth’s timeline to save humanity in the event of a catastrophic event.
Of course, to use this notorious beam, it must first be charged, and that’s where Aria and the other Entropy Centre employees come in, or rather, used to come in.
Astra teaches you that you must solve complex puzzles to generate entropic energy. This energy is then collected by a unique system to charge the beam. The more puzzles the centre’s employees solve, the more entropy they generate. The thing is, now you are alone in this space base. This makes things a bit more complex, and it’s up to you to solve the puzzles to generate enough entropic energy to save the earth from certain death. Feeling the pressure already?
Reversing Time Has Never Been More Fun
The gameplay of The Entropy Centre is quite simple and well thought out: Aria, thanks to her gun, will have to move objects to position them in strategic places to unlock doors, activate electric circuits, reach higher grounds, etc. The puzzles are rather brilliant and offer excellent challenges. You have to observe your surroundings, mull things over, and think logically, or rather, in reverse.
As the game progresses, the challenges increase, and new puzzle pieces are added to the puzzles. Astra will warn you each time and give you a brief summary of the piece’s functionality. Don’t fret; the difficulty increases gradually, so you’ll have plenty of time to grasp things.
Although the mechanical approach of The Entropy Centre may seem quite complex at first, it is not.
The difficulty of the puzzles is perfectly balanced, and it is rare to get stuck on a puzzle for more than 10 minutes, even for a novice of the genre.
As a result, you progress pretty quickly. The Entropy Centre will keep you on the edge of your seat for about ten hours. This time will vary greatly depending on your skill and patience in solving the puzzles.
During your journey between two brainteasers, you will face small hostile robots leading to a few gunfights. Not really difficult, nor particularly interesting. This FPS side of the title may not impress you. In fact, they could have skipped it altogether. You just have to go back in time when you’re faced with an enemy projectile to get rid of them or throw explosive cubes at them. This breaks the rhythm of the puzzles a bit, and it could have used more depth. Nothing too bad, though.
A sloppy, professional look
One might expect to encounter a sterile setting, especially in a science space research centre in 2035. But this is not the case, or it may have been the case when the base was still in working order.
In its abandoned state, the immaculate and clean appearance has disappeared to make way for cracks, rust and plants that take up residence as they please amid offices, test chambers and abandoned corridors. It soon becomes clear that it has been years since any human walked the same path as Aria.
In certain places, the scenery is beautiful, especially where nature starts to reclaim its rights – which may seem paradoxical for a space station – with vegetation on the walls or some places where you can see the earth.
Other places, however, are bland and look as generic as possible.
Although some of the scenery is a bit repetitive, technically, the game is spotless. This is even more impressive when you consider that it was developed by a single person.
Simplicity of the sound that accompanies the gameplay
The Entropy Centre’s soundtrack is rather discreet, and you probably won’t find yourself humming it under the shower. Nevertheless, it adds a touch of tension to some parts of the game. At certain times, it is anguishing, with an electro-tempo. In others, it creates a contemplative atmosphere, like when we observe the earth through the windows of the space station.
As for the sound effects, they stand out for their quality. Each is unique and has its own “personality”, like the sound of the entropic ray when fired or objects when they are rewound. These futuristic sounds add an advanced technological feel to all our actions in the Entropic Centre.
The Entropy Centre: If you like the puzzle game genre, it is difficult to miss The Entropy Centre. The futuristic dystopian atmosphere, the puzzles that will make your head spin, and the charm of this space base will keep you on the edge of your seat until you discover the end of the story. Which has the merit of keeping you in suspense until the final scene. We can only salute the prowess of this title, which, once again, was done by a solo developer. – Lan Di
The game have been reviewed on Playstation 5. The Entropy centre is available on Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox, Xbox series and PC.
Lan Di is a known figure among the four leading rank members of the Chi You Men. He is also a FinalBoss contributor during his spare time.