Closure is, among the often-flooded genre of Artsy Indie Platformers With a Gimmick, one of the better ones. Disregarding the saturation of the somewhat surreal, black-and-white aesthetic and the mechanics of a simple platformer with one basic twist, the game succeeds in enough ways to warrant a “yes, this is worth its weight in sighs”.
What “story” is present is as minimalist as it is dark, and without spoiling anything, the title does provide some insight into the themes of the game. It is a fairly straightforward left-to-right puzzle-platformer, much like Braid or Limbo, but instead of time travel or melancholy and depression as the respective elements, Closure’s Weird Mechanic of choice is light. Namely, the lack thereof. Unlit things disappear completely from reality.
If there isn’t light directly on an object in the world, it does not exist. It doesn’t matter that the player might know for a fact that there’s a floor immediately beneath – if there’s not light to show it, he falls through. This means that phasing through unlit ceilings or skipping over large portions of what appeared to be impassable terrain are very basic parts of the game. It can become frustrating to slog away at a particularly troublesome level and make no progress, but when the solutions are found, they bring with them an irritatingly satisfying feeling of accomplishment. Not since Braid have pieces of a game been so baffling and then so obvious in retrospect.
Mechanically, there is a fairly sound connection between the thematic elements – the darkness, the lack of understanding, the slightly grotesque visuals – and the mechanical ones, namely the methodical solving of puzzles by carefully placing all of these moving, swinging lights and just falling short due to chaos, and the fact that if the player is not careful, the world might just collapse around them. Sometimes it does, and not because of anything you did, just because of the rest of the world moving along. There is some question as to whether the themes are particularly coherent, but it is certainly arguable that they are not meant to be obvious and overt, but rather something more subtle than the average video game provides.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The environment of the game shifts as progress is made, background images of fairly mundane settings – mailboxes, lamps, doors – slowly giving way to much more fascinating and bizarre environments, moving from an already-surreal setting to a slightly more alien one.
So if the somewhat-done-to-death genre of Indie Art Platformers is not sickening to everyone yet, then by all means this is a great piece of work. Even if it is a couple years late to the party. Regardless of timing, the quality of the game is fairly excellent, and considering that the content only gets more and more interesting as the game progresses, it’s a worthy investment of under ten dollars. Get it on Steam or search for Closure on Google.