Closure review

You have to love these independent darlings in video games.  Here, you have a small group of people who take something intuitive and creative, and somehow blossom it into a better game than a good portion of the high-priced, big-budget sludge.  It’s a remarkable feat, and a sure sign that independent game development is here to stay.  Would Sony make such a big push for it otherwise?

Part of that push is this past week’s release of Closure, a game that initially debuted as a free Flash game way back in 2009, and produced by a team of three people.  Now, you might be scratching your head and wondering, “Now why would I pay $15 for something I can easily play for free?”  Well, this is one truly refined port for PlayStation Network — and one that comes with its fair share of rewards.

In the game, you find each level shrouded in darkness with only a few bright spots scattered about.  Light is the friend of the few playable characters in the game, including a multi-legged demon, a construction worker, and a little girl.  Without it, you would simply fall off into the empty abyss, without anything to stand on.  Shine a beam on a small piece of platform, however, and you have some stable ground beneath your feet.  You can also carry occasional light-up orbs around to help navigate your way through a stage, until you get to a point you can place it and (carefully) move on.

The levels start out pretty basic at first, but as you progress, they become increasingly tougher.  A moving flashlight beam becomes a platform for you to stand on and maneuver your way around.  Small spotlights have to be adjusted so that the light shines in just the right place so you don’t fall to your doom.  You’ll even go underwater at certain points of the game, where the music slows down and you’ll have to avoid getting too far into the darkness.

There are times that Closure can be tough, but no puzzle is ever to the point of being impossible.  Sometimes, the best way to find a solution is through mere trial-and-error.  A lot of games rely on this as of late — including Limbo — and Closure happily joins this group.  The gameplay is sharp and inventive, making you think about finding the way out, even though there are times when you have to dig to find the answers.  That’s the mark of a true puzzle platformer.

What’s more, Closure provides some ample rewards through Trophies, with multiple ones available depending how deep you go into it.  There are several to unlock here, and they’re all worth your while, provided you don’t slam down your controller in frustration first.  (Just calm down and THINK.)

For a three man project, Closure's presentation is sensational.  The team has ported the game over with sharp HD visuals, even though they’re in black-and-white, so you don’t miss a singular detail.  The music is equally impressive, with neat little ditties that sound as if they came out of Danny Elfman’s personal library.  The characters lack sound effects, but they don’t need them.

The only major complaint about the game is its price.  It is worth it, don’t get me wrong, but is there a reason Sony isn’t selling this at $10?  Even five would be more than reasonable.  15 might turn off potential buyers… but thank goodness a demo exists.

Closure was a great game back in its day, and three years later, it makes a remarkable debut on the PSN, not missing a beat in its action or engaging design.  The price is a little steep, but to those who appreciate the kind of platformer that makes you think, it’s definitely worthy of being in the spotlight.