|Together, the protagonists in our game even have the same number of legs.|
|It's not uncommon for a level to be mostly this dark throughout.|
The puzzles themselves will always be at the forefront of your attention - each one is self-contained in its own room, with your objective always to get through a door so you can proceed to the next level. This construction means you'll never loose sight of the fact that you're playing a game; the puzzles aren't especially organic, so it always feels like you're solving for solving's sake (as opposed to games like Riven or Limbo, where forward progress is about learning how to make do with the tools the environment gives you). Still, they're incredibly fun, and some quite devious. The pacing is excellent; you'll walk into a new room with no sense of the puzzle, but after a few minutes of exploring and lighting up the room, you'll come to understand the objective and how best to carry it out. Usually figuring it out is the hard part, though there are a few, especially towards the end, that demand precise execution and punish you for small mistakes. It's a little frustrating sometimes, but not to the point of distraction or disappointment.
|Some of the background art is gorgeous, when the game chooses to show it.|
And mood-building is critical to the success of the game. As mentioned earlier, the story isn't told explicitly. You're given impressions, and those impressions are enough to evoke feelings that are, at times, quite powerful. By the end, the story itself feels like a puzzle that can be solved, and though some players may find that attractive it may seem frustrating or unnecessary to others. At the end of the day, Closure is part of a tradition, alongside games like Braid and Limbo, that has only begun to develop recently. This tradition takes simple game templates and finds ways to develop them so that the gameplay is fresh despite being a variation on a relatively played-out style - it's kind of a "platformer-with-a-gimmick" model, and it's how a lot of indie devs are making games because it's easy to execute and there's a large player base already familiar with it. Importantly, these games try to use their mechanics to tell their stories, and they're often looking to tell stories that are more complex and thoughtful than video games are usually credited with. The trend that worries me is that these stories sometimes grow too obtuse or vague to really understand - it's easy to spend as many hours trying to solve Braid's story as its puzzles, and the muteness in Limbo and Closure made me wonder whether I'd missed something or whether the games were meant to be vague. It's great if games tell more thoughtful stories; it's less great if those stories alienate parts of their audience by being obtuse or overly intellectual.
That never feels like the point in Closure, though. The story is light and sometimes confusing, but the melancholy it evokes is powerful, and the way it uses its mechanics of illumination and illusion to create that melancholy is spot-on. If you like trying to piece together the narrative, collecting all the game's secrets, do; if not, enjoy the puzzles and the art, and let the mood carry you through. Whichever you prefer, Closure is delightful and memorable, and definitely worth exploring.