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“Parallax,” A Mind-Bending Game Where You Leap Between Parallel Worlds

Zi Ye and Jesse Burstyn’s creation looks like Portal mashed up with Sin City.

“Parallax,” A Mind-Bending Game Where You Leap Between Parallel Worlds

I aged out of playing modern video games way back when GoldenEye was popular and I couldn’t keep the mazelike game environment straight in my head. So I’d be pretty much screwed if I attempted to play Parallax, an “interdimensional puzzle platformer” that superimposes two 3-D mazes on top of each other and forces you to phase-shift between them in order to find your way out. (That sizzling sound you hear is my brain melting.)

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Parallax’s gameplay is simple: Move your first-person avatar from point A to point B across a series of suspended paths and platforms. The twist is that your route is studded with circular portals that connect to a parallel universe with another obstacle course of paths and platforms, all occupying the same space. The only way to get from point A to point B is to exploit these portals, which connect both universes in a kind of meta-maze. Oh, and sometimes the paths, platforms, and portals are all moving, so the ways that physical space intersects with itself becomes difficult to predict. (Still sizzling? Yep.)

For a game whose concept is that difficult to explain, designing it was even harder. How do you present the player with two separate-but-superimposed gameworlds in a way that gives them a shred of hope of solving the puzzles? Creators Zi Ye and Jesse Burstyn found a simple answer: Make one world white, and the other black. Parallax’s ultra-monochrome visual palette elegantly distinguishes between the mirror worlds while providing a stark, simple interface for solving the puzzles. (No need for distracting photorealistic ornamentation on walls or floors–Parallax is already demanding enough from your frontal cortex as is.) Ye and Burstyn are hoping to release Parallax by the end of the year for Mac and PC.

[Via Ars Technica]

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About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets

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