So a few weeks ago I saw this game on the PlayStation Network called Closure. Usually when I'm drawn to a game it has alot to do with the presentation. I'd say most of today's games try to be as colorful and as visually appealing as they can possibly be and even some games incorporate art style into the game. Closure actually uses it's starkness to it's advantage to not only create seemingly bare environments which can be illuminated by light but to use it in a way that bends and breaks the structure of traditional platformers.
Starting up the game you let the music hit you, it's powerful and epic and gets you in the mood for a journey through dark and possibly treacherous locals. Then you jump in. The world is presented in such a way through it's music that you get an oddly eerie feeling. Perhaps it's the combination of the images and the music composition but it reminds me of the Twilight Zone I'm ever waiting for a recording of Rod Serling to inform me as to what's going on. The music then contrasts to sparse droplets of sound and it's then through barely lit pathways you begin to understand Closure's world. Light is your saving grace and that glowing orb in your hand is what's keeping you from dying.....then you drop it. You fall through the floor, the level resets and all that hard work is lost. You come across an impassible wall between you and your goal. While light keeps you alive, it's absence also removes obstacles. You notice that the door across the barrier has been lit enough to jump onto and exit and now that the wall's no longer lit it, no longer exists. You sail through the air landing upon the other side exiting through the door.
These are some of the neat feelings I felt when I played Closure for the first time. These little touches along with the white on black, unique level design and artwork for each 3 areas (known as The Factory, Hospital & Carnival respectively) really make Closure feel like a unique undertaking. Having been a flash game on Newgrounds you can tell care was taken to polish the game for full game release. Each area has a different play style from the last and while the game sometimes feels like it takes it easy on you in some levels, it actually takes precision and several attempts to master some of the harder parts of the game. One such instance trying to retrieve a key underwater. Falling into water for the first time the music sluggishly continues on in a lower distorted tone driving home the point of being submerged, you notice the door keys sink while in water and light orbs float to the surface so it's required to find a way to keep both yourself and the key inside the light while these 2 adversaries of buoyancy conspire to see you lose your key or worse get caught in a pocket of dark space.
Closure's biggest strengths however is that it's a puzzle game that accounts more for finding solutions than relying on skill alone and how players who think outside of the box can manipulate it's world and find easier ways to accomplish what seems like tougher goals when approached from only one angle. I'm not really sure ultimately what makes me really enjoy Closure. It's one of the few downloadable games that I've been compelled to chip away at. Half the fun I guess is at first figuring out the path, learning what's required to get through the level and fiddling with ways both proven and experimental to reach my goal. Every new level is a new awaited experience for the next time I can play as I'll get to dig deeper on what my possible path will be. I don't need to be the fastest, I just need to think and most of the time it comes easy and others it takes patience, trial and error. However another interesting factor for me is the symbolism presented within. It seems like there's a story to be told with Closure though not entirely prevalent to the experience where a creature entering these 3 different worlds as 3 different people. Finding out will be half the fun. At the end of the day though I'm hooked. I've finished 2 out of the 3 doors and I'm working on the 3rd. Waiting to lose patience, to get oh so close and to figure it out only to do it all over again the next time I need a little Closure in my life.