DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex Review

DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex is an interesting Puzzle/Labyrinth game, the first of this type I have ever met. Although you do not have much of a story the aim of each level is for you to gather Soul Cubes, which represent fragments of your soul. That might seem like a laughable task, but in fact the labyrinths that you always end up in make it as hard as possible for you. Walls will disappear, and reappear. The Soul Cubes you saw moments ago will suddenly be hidden behind a solid door. When you think you are close to completing a level you will enter a Portal and end up in some new location on the map. DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex will be hard at first, but once you figure it out you will enjoy passing through each next level.

DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex

What would Freud have to say about this?

DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex Review

Let us talk of the basics. In Dead End you move around the map using your mouse button. You move forward by looking in a direction and clicking your mouse, thus moving one square at a time. Some reviewers pointed out that this could have been done like a “proper” FPS game, with either walking or running. I agree, yet at the same time I imagine the “character” as some completely confused, cold and hungry soul, who travels through the strange world of his mind, seeking every last bit of himself. I doubt I’d jump around then.

Depending on the Chapter you play the levels will look differently. The Subconscious made me cautious, when I realized I was in some sort of hospital, filled with graves, padded walls and empty ruined beds. Then as you progress through to the next levels you enter a far more bizarre world. I enjoyed the creative design behind each of the levels, although the “Emotions” chapter made moving around a bit difficult, because I tried cutting corners when that was not an option (you can only move in four directions).

At the start of each Level you have a highly limited vision. You can see only one square in every direction. This mean that as you approach something that looks like a long corridor a wall could appear right in front of your nose, forcing you to look for a detour, or a new corridor that appeared right next to you. You can collect items which make life a lot easier for you. One of them are Light bulbs, which expand you vision by one square each time you pick a new one. This helps you realize ahead of time if you can pass through a certain obstacle. The second useful upgrade are Eyes. Not every level gives you the opportunity to collect them. Once you collect all the eyes the level has you will see past all the illusions. No more disappearing/appearing walls or pathways. The problem is that without the “Eyes” you can sometimes see an item on the other side of an “invisible wall” which you know will appear as you approach it. So even though the Eyes help you in your travels you could have a harder time finding all the hidden soul cubes. Then there are the Cans of Paint, which will allow you to leave your footprints on the floors. This is also a great help when you wonder whether you explored a certain area or not. Then, there are the “switch reality” levers. What these do is swap around what appears and disappears. This opens new paths for you to reach Soul Cubes and other items, but might as well cause a lot of confusion.

The graphics are good for a puzzle game of this type. The music is pleasant, and my overall impression of the game is positive. Unfortunately, this game lacks a few things that could improve the game’s rating.

Firstly, the game is short. There are four Chapters, including the Tutorial, and each one has only four levels. If you put in enough effort you would complete the entire game in a matter of a few hours (if you are as bad as me with puzzles).

Secondly, there is a lack of a level creator, which I feel would increase the appeal of this game greatly, especially since the level design does not appear to be that complicated. All the levels work on a “block by block” basis, I simply do not know why wasn’t this exploited.

Thirdly, the controls are a tiny bit awkward. I got used to clicking the mouse in order to move around, although it is a bit unfortunate we cannot move around freely. On the other hand, this does stop people from getting stuck in levels glitches.

Summary

Overall, Dead End Cerebral Vortex is an interesting and challenging game, but it lacks that “something”. Perhaps I was hoping for a story, where a patient in an Asylum is struggling with himself to recover from his illness, or a recently deceased man is passing through Purgatory and explores his past life? In the current raw form we have a Puzzle/Labyrinth game where you collect cubes in order to progress further. The basic game mechanics are in place, but they are not enough to make this title stand higher than other games. If this game has a future release I hope more will be added to it, to make the world we explore far more interesting.

Rating:7.5/10
Pros:Challenging
"Colorful"
Cons:Short
No Level Editor
Lack of Story

Game producer's website:Membranos
Official website:DeadEnd: Cerebral Vortex
Game available at:GamersGate

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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