The Entropy Centre, from unknown developer Stubby Games and Playstack, is one of this year’s best puzzle games. It’s out for PC, PlayStation and Xbox – we played the PlayStation 5 version.
If we had to describe The Entropy Centre in just a few words, we’d probably say that this game is what you get when you combine Portal with the movie Tenet – which should be enough to get any sci-fi fan intrigued. It comes with an original story too, one in which you play as protagonist Aria Adams, who wakes up inside a mysterious facility – The Entropy Centre.
Here, you come into possession of a Handheld Entropy Device, which is a gun of sorts, but one that has the ability to manipulate time. There’s also a personality-rich buddy called Astra that comes with it, and if you take a look at the visual style of the game it’s hard not to think of GLaDOS and Portal. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to find out that this game can stand on its own legs, despite the clear source of inspiration.
Story-wise, you discover that you’re alone inside the building, but the building wasn’t always this deserted and it certainly wasn’t always falling apart like it is now. Remnants of the past can be seen by checking the contents of the computers you come across, which slowly sheds light on what this building was used for and what happened – and in between there are plenty of puzzles to tackle.
Your HED ‘gun’ can be used to rewind time and thus move objects back to where they once were, and while that seems simple enough it can become quite a brain-bender once multiple objects are involved that all need to be in the right place at the right point in time. Sure, while playing you get that Portal/Q.U.B.E. feel, but manipulating time and the environment around you makes moving boxes back and forth suddenly feel fresh again.
Part of that is also the fact that The Entropy Centre is just very well designed – not just repeating the same mechanics over and over again but gradually introducing new mechanics as you progress. These can come from different environmental elements (like, indeed, blocks) but also through upgrades for your HED that add new functionalities to it.
And despite an over-reliance on somewhat sterile interiors, The Entropy Center also looks the part – especially when you start encountering some of the exterior environments. If you like the thought of “Portal meets Tenet” as much as we did, you won’t be disappointed – one of the new puzzlers out there.