I almost hate to make a comparison without first playing the game, and I remember my initial thought upon seeing the trailer, but the developer seems to have embraced the similarities, saying Gateways IS Portal. Well, in two dimensions.
Gateways is a 2D puzzle platform game. Alongside the traditional platform elements such as jumping on enemies heads, spikes and moving platforms are the gateway guns. The gateway guns allow you to place two gateways on the walls, floors and ceilings of the lab so that when you pass through one you emerge out of the other. As progress is made through the game different types of gateway gun are introduced with different effects. After the basic gun, you acquire a gun that creates two gateways of different sizes, passing through one way shrinks Ed to half his size and the other way makes Ed grow to twice his size. After this you find a gun where one gateway doesn’t just connect to the other’s location but also its time, allowing Ed to travel back in time and encounter earlier versions of himself. Finally, the last gun manipulates gravity so passing through allows Ed to walk along walls and on ceilings.
Coming from Smudged Cat Games, which made the fun arcade platformer The Adventures of Shuggy, as well as other XBLIGs (Growing Pains sticks out), I’m not concerned about the quality of Gateways. It’s a finalist in the Dream.Build.Play competition, after all. I was, however, a bit worried about how involved the rooms and their solutions would be. The video below, which is a ‘Dev Diary’ of sorts, aims to better explain how the game and its guns work, introducing ‘Help Points’, and allaying some of my fears about its complexity.
I do like the mention of the game being a ‘Metroidvania’, one big open map with the option to go back and reach previously inaccessible areas that contain other powerups or shortcuts (the mini-map I saw keeps everything, including the main objective, in order). With a bigger arsenal of equipment than Portal, what with Gravity and Time Travel guns besides creating gateways, there’s enough devices present to keep everyone occupied with exploration and experimentation.
Gateways will be released on September 13th.