DeadEnd Cerebral Vortex Review
Oh boy, I’m not sure how to start this. DeadEnd Cerebral Vortex is a puzzle game full of interesting concepts that can never quite deliver. The goal of the game is to collect enough pieces of your soul to advance to the next level, making your way through five different worlds of the subconscious. Now the game says five, but given that the whole first world is a tutorial with no other concept behind it besides ‘This is a Tutorial‘…it’s really more like four. Still they say twenty levels and I’m not going to dispute it.
The game should be praised for its level design. The tutorial was very bland looking which made me fear for the rest of the game, but after getting into the meat of it I enjoyed the simplicity behind the level designs. Each world starts with a fairly simple surrounding, except as you advance it becomes more surreal and the puzzles get harder. The world fades and your surroundings change as you move. You may see a piece of soul in front of you but after moving closer a wall may appear, forcing you to look around for an alternative route.
These perceptive problems can be eased by finding items throughout the world such as lamps that increase your field of vision, paint cans to mark where you’ve been, eyeballs which, if collected will completely reveal the world to you. The switches you can throw to turn the illusions into reality and vice versa. Now all of these are great ideas that should serve to help you solve the puzzles of the game, but the paint can really doesn’t come in handy until the very last level and the eyeballs are never really necessary. The biggest problem this game has is such a crippling issue that ensures that I will never play this game again, the controls.
The only way to move your character in DeadEnd is to click your mouse, simple right? Wait a minute… no, no no no, how does that make any sense? In a puzzle game that is all about exploration and problem solving, you can only move one square at a time, clicking the mouse to move to each square. These aren’t big squares either, these are tiny squares. Now in worlds that by world 3 get pretty damn big, that is a lot of clicking. Everything good about this game is thrown out the window in the larger levels because moving from place to place is so infuriating. Seriously by the end of it I swear I had carpal tunnel from clicking for 2 hours straight.
This problem is so easily solved and the game was released as is. It wouldn’t even be a problem if I could have held the button down, or if it used the arrow keys. What could have been a passable game was made almost unplayable by poor controls, and it’s really a shame. I didn’t even want to try to 100% each level because I couldn’t imagine going back and exploring entire areas again. In the last level I was praying to find the exit, I didn’t even want to try finding all of the soul cubes because I knew I had found enough to pass.
All in all DeadEnd isn’t something I would suggest to anyone. The symbolism doesn’t really amount to anything and all the potential the game had (which was a lot honestly!) is completely marred by the fact that it’s almost unplayable due to the most infuriating controls I’ve ever come across. With some simple tweaks this game would go from unplayable to good, so if there’s ever an update give me a call, but until then I’m not getting stuck at another DeadEnd.