Monday, 16 July 2012

(PC) Four Keys | Review by Manio

Developer: Andrew "Mclogenog" Yoder
Engine: Unreal Development Kit
Platform: Windows
Genre: Adventure-Puzzler
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Download/Game URL:

 Four Keys is a short experimental game about exploration, the ways we think about physical space, and the medium specificity of video games. Does it deliver, or does it seem like another lackluster Portal clone?
 The Game
Four Keys is a puzzle-exploration game designed on the Unreal Engine; or at-least that's what I think the game is. You're solving what seems to be puzzles; or just exploring. It's really hard to tell what kind of direction the game is going in. However, on to the review!

The whole concept of Four Keys is to well, find four keys hidden around the level. It's not exactly the most difficult things to do, and you should expect to complete the game in about ten minutes. So, to put it bluntly it's extremely short, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The game does one thing exceptionally well, and that's the feel/design. When I was in game I felt like I was exploring some sort of "virtual" "Tron-like" universe, and to escape I needed to find these keys.

The game doesn't really give you any directions as to why you need these keys, you just do. The point of the keys is to unlock the color-coded doors all around the map, and these doors usually lead to the other keys. However, some doors are not color coded and you can just simply enter them at anytime you wish and check them out, and possibly find a key. And this where the puzzle component gets thrown at you. 

 An example of one of the color coded rooms.

 Each room seems to have some sort of puzzle-esque element to them, or at-least that's how I felt in my experience with the game (you may feel differently). For example, one room had me wandering up what seemed to be endless flights of stairs, and I was getting extremely frustrated and figured this to be amateur level design, only to find my theory proven wrong. A really neat concept for a puzzle, and it made me feel an idiot at the end result.

So, aside from the "old-school" "Tron-like" visuals, we're also represented with what seems like some pretty retro sound effects that sound like some old kind of computer system when you pick up objects, and interact with the environment. It's a wonderful feeling; and it really helps to capture the mood. Since this game is so short, my review is pretty much coming to an end, but don't fret this game isn't bad what-so-ever, it could just use a little polish and some extra content. Again, this is an early build of the game and I'm expecting some more levels later on. 

 The Good

  • Funky level design really makes you feel like you're in some sort of virtual world.
  • The adventuring, and "puzzle" aspect reminds me of Portal; so fans of the Portal series may enjoy this.
  • Retro sound effects that really set the mood for the game.
  • A fun, little game to quickly breeze through and experience.
  • It's free!
 The Bad
  • Lack of content is a little disheartening, but I hope more maps/levels will be added in the future. This game has potential.
  • It may be a little short for some people.
  • Could use of some polish to some of the models, and the levels feel a tad bare.
  • The direction of the game is a little confusing; but my verdict is that it's a puzzle adventure game like Portal.
 So, what's the final verdict for Four Keys? It's a very neat concept, but some of it seems a little lack-luster and bare. Still though, it's a fun experience to quickly breeze through, and has a lot of potential. If the game added more content, and possibly a 1-2 story I could see people dropping a few bucks on this. It's free so everyone should check it out. Four Keys gets a Thumbs Up from me.
Review by Manio, as seen on

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