Portal is one of my favorite video games of all time. I love the concept and the gameplay, along with those the storyline twists, but above all else, I love the GLaDOS, the AI system with the razor-sharp wit that controls everything in the test environment.
So you can imagine my reaction when I stumbled upon this indie game called $ S.E.B. >, an indie puzzle-platformer that just so happens to be a wonderfully minimalist homage to Portal. Check out the trailer to see what I mean.
The game has you control a SEB square, just one of the thousands of identical test subjects that are stuck in a simulated test environment controlled by GUSTAV, an omnipotently present AI system that exists to configure and guide you through the testing protocols (sound familiar?).
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You control the black square by tapping anywhere on the screen to make the square jump in the exact opposite direction. Each time you tap the screen, you’ll see a line and angle that seems unnecessary at first, but you soon learn that the angle at which you tap is pretty crucial to mastering the precise controls required to clear the harder tests to come.
While there are no portals to be found in $ S.E.B. >, it is still a familiar physics-based puzzle game that develops itself into a delightful challenge as you progress. It also includes an evolving narrative that clearly was inspired by the first Portal game — and that’s exactly why you’ll love it.
The game description says there’s at least an hour’s worth of gameplay here, which is probably true if you are able to speed run your way through the 100 or so levels — some of which you’re able to complete in just a few seconds. Others are not so easy and will test your mastery of the game’s controls and physics.
$ S.E.B. > was released back in September, but I feel like the overly-stylized title is going to make it tough for anyone to just stumble across in the Google Play Store. I’m more than happy to give it the spot as my last Game of the Week recommendation for 2019. The fact that its also free to download for a limited time is a bonus, although this game is absolutely worth its usual asking price.