Atmospheric. Haunting. Challenging. I can't think of three better words to describe my time with Closure.
I think it was around 5:30 this morning when I came to the conclusion that Closure was my type of game. You see I was stuck on one final puzzle and I just couldn’t step away. I don’t know if it was the game’s brooding soundtrack, frightening and artsy visuals or just me being stubborn. Closure had its hooks in me and when I finally beat that final puzzle — 45 minutes later — I felt like I had achieved something.
This is mostly do to the fact that Closure does not hold your hand. There are no hints, heck there is barely a tutorial. All the things you can do in the game are conveyed to you via some simple instructions painted on the game’s background. Also it helps that there are really just three buttons you use the entire game. But this is something that I truly admire, too frequently are gamer’s spoon-fed level progression. In Closure you need to feed yourself.
The story of Closure is something of a mystery. When you first start you are controlling this 4-legged demon who is traveling in some unknown place where everything is dark. Darkness and light both play a crucial role in the game. By picking up light orbs you can move forward as it lights up the space around you. However if you step away from this light you will fall to your death. It should be noted that many people will probably compare this game to LIMBO, but that really isn’t fair. These games are two separate things entirely. You won’t be killing any children in Closure, trust me. If and when you fall into the darkness the game will reload you to the start of the stage, you can also do this at any time by pressing Select. There are no lives, no timers, it is just you and the puzzle. This is something that I would use to my advantage.
After completing the first section you are greeted to a hub world with three different doors. Each of them allows the demon to see the world through the eyes of human. You have a factory worker, a woman in a forest, and a young girl at a carnival. All three of these doors are unlocked and you can play them in any order. Each person’s story starts off easy and steadily progress to the point where you might be scratching your head for 30 minutes trying to figure out what to do. Having everything available at the onset is something that allows the user to take a break from a certain area if it is too tough and try something else. The worlds for these people are also different, the factory for example is much more industrial having you moving lights around to create platforms to walk on. This game also has some rather creepy artwork, which reminds me a lot of those Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. You will move a lamp over to the left and there will be this grotesque looking clown or a huge face of this doctor.
If you want to get far in Closure you will need to master both the world of light and the world of dark. As mentioned before you can only stand where there is light, enter an area of darkness and you will plummet off-screen. You can however use that darkness to your advantage. For instance you may notice that a wall is blocking your path to get to the exit. All you have to do is simply move the light orb away from this wall and suddenly it is no longer an obstacle. The game offers up a wide variety of puzzle elements where you will doing things similar to that. Shooting out lights, moving spotlight, placing orbs in devices that move them around a stage all of these things get masterfully layered upon one another.
After completing the game’s 72 stages, 24 for each person, you unlock 10 even more challenging stages. These are what kept me up for the majority of my 8 hour playthrough. Each one of these takes an element that you used earlier in the game and cranks it up to 12. Having completed all those levels without the use of a FAQ or walkthrough was really a rewarding experience.
The game’s award winning soundtrack also helps set a haunting mood while you are playing. Listening to the ambient sounds of the wind as single piano keys play really invokes images from a horror movie. It compliments the games visual style perfectly and really draws you in. One thing that I really loved was when you enter water. The game’s audio will slow down and become muddled, it really makes it feel like you are in a different world. For me, have a cohesive soundtrack really makes or breaks a game. I don’t think Closure would have caught my attention if it wasn’t its music.
If you happen to listen to our podcast you might remember hearing me say that it is 2012 and I shouldn’t have to watch things in black and white. I think we were discussing The Artist right before the Oscars. While I still believe that to hold true for movies, I am willing to let it slide for Closure. The atmosphere brought on by the combination of the game’s chilling musical score and monochromatic visuals really added to my experience while playing. Anyone who was a fan of Braid or similar games should definitely check this out. But be warned, you are in for a challenge.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
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