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Portal of Worlds
(Daniel Erikkson)


"A world as seen through black and light"

You awaken outside your house, where the water is flowing nicely and where you can see the grass and the trees just as you remember them from a typical Spring day. But there is something different about you; there's a sudden curiosity to travel away from your house that you've never experienced before.

Fueled with this curiosity, you start walking down the road. You look at the mountains, the sky, and the trees. Everything appears to be same, but something is drawing you. It's almost as if a tremendous force is pulling you in, and there's nothing you can do about it. You find yourself continuing to walk down the road...

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Portal of Worlds is actually part of the first wave of QB games to come out, and this shows immediately in this puzzle game's style of graphics. The game takes place in a high resolution, 16 color mode, where the graphics are drawn with line and draw commands. As a result, Portal of Worlds lacks animation. However, the look of the game itself is almost like a static wireframe, and nothing in the game is particularly annoying to look at. In other words, the art is certainly undetailed, but at least it's certainly tolerable and relaxing to the eyes.
Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
(Very Poor) PC speaker music is used in the beginning of the game, which is always a gamble as far as QB games go. In the case of Portal of Worlds, the gamble did not work in the game's favor. The notes used were piercing to the ears, so instead of giving Portal of Worlds some life the intro music gives some Pavlovian-like pains to players, thus discouraging them from playing Portal of Worlds again after the first time.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe v
The game's high point, but is also what brings the other marks for this game down. The concept for gameplay in Portal of Worlds sounds good on paper: have a journey where someone walks from room to room and observes objects while looking at finely drawn backgrounds to stimulate both the mind and a person's sense of sight. Portal of Worlds came along with some line-drawn backgrounds, which were pretty standard during the time of its release. The finishing touch was adding an interface for players to control their character as the journey continues from room to room.

This is where the pain begins, as the control in Portal of Worlds is a little clumsy. To perform actions, like observing objects or walking to the next room, you have to enter a number corresponding to the action you want to perform. For example, if you were in a forest and you want to check out the trees, you press "1". If you want to walk deeper into the forest, press "2". This is how control in Portal of Worlds is operated.

Unfortunately, this interface is glitched. Sometimes, I end up walking to a different room instead of checking out an object despite the fact that I entered the correct number for observing the object. Other glitches included being teleported back to the portal of worlds accidentally, using an object picked up when I didn't want it to be used, and performing multiple actions simultaneously when trying only to look at an object or observe a wall. Repairing these logic errors would give Portal of Worlds a better edge in terms of gameplay.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Poor) The best word to describe Portal of World's storyline is vague. At first, I thought the mission in Portal of Worlds was simply to find the portal that would allow me to travel to different places. But once I saw the portal and the game continued to play, I wasn't clear as to what my true purpose in the game was until the game was suddenly solved.

After this experience, I concluded that the biggest problem in the storyline of Portal of Worlds is that the objective of the game is unclear. There was no hint in the game that told you that your mission was to find the "Superpowerball" until the Superpowerball is suddenly discovered and the game abruptly ends. Some narration to give the player some purpose would have helped enhance this story score.

Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
(Very Poor) Very poor. Portal of Worlds is just too short to have much replay value, since there's only one puzzle that you need to remember to beat the game. Once you know how to beat the game, you can skip most of the text narrations, go straight to the puzzle problem, and beat the game again outright, so there's really no need to try another round of Portal of Worlds once it's bested.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Poor) The biggest challenge in this puzzle game is its evident "user-unfriendliness". While you're busy seraching for items, misplaced routines may rudely move you to another room that you did not choose to travel to. There are also times while playing when your items could be used when you didn't want to use it yet. This lack of control, which also impacted the gameplay score, is what actually gave Portal of Worlds its length.

As for the puzzles in Portal of Worlds, your main task is to unlock Demror, the one world that you can't access when you first discover the portal of worlds. With very few objects to observe, discovering what you'll need to unlock Demror will take you a relatively short period of time.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Poor) Simply put, Portal of Worlds wasn't tested hard enough for bugs and glitches. If the control was a little more precise and you weren't constantly sucked back into the portal while you're visiting other worlds, then Portal of Worlds certainly has potential going for it. But as it is now, in it's buggy 3-5 minutes to solve form, this puzzle/adventure game needs some construction and depth to be more enjoyable.
Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle/Adventure Game
Rating To solve: 3-5 min Final Rating: 2/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tip
wTo play Portal of Worlds, unzip the file and run "PORTWOR.EXE".

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