Developer: David Shaw
Category: Puzzle, Adventure, Education, Other
Composer: Nick Newman
Release Date: July 29, 2021
Strategy and puzzle games have always intrigued me. Growing up with games like Myst and Riven, and then experiencing The Witness only created great excitement to try The Long Gate. Once I dove in, The Long Gate was much more than I bargained for, yet still provided some enjoyment.
The Long Walk to Nowhere
Starting a new game allows you to select your difficulty, Easy, Normal, and Hard. Easy is still very difficult and only provides small hints as to what is required to solve each puzzle. Once on the main floor, you are able to use an elevator and solve each puzzle in the order you choose. All puzzles have to be completed in order to move forward and the next area sets you off down multiple hallways and corridors with more to solve. There were multiple instances where I felt like I was headed nowhere.
Taking about 30 to 45 minutes for easier puzzles and nearly 2 hours or more for the more difficult puzzles, I struggled and slowly endeavored to complete each puzzle. Luck definitely played a huge role in solving the puzzles. There is little to no tutorial, even when you consider the “hints” you get on easy and normal. You are provided a “gun-type” magnet you use to press buttons and move transformers and conductors. And depending on the button you are able to change the number codes on the gun.
As difficult as The Long Gate is, by contrast the controls are simple. Basic analog and point and click controls remove the concern for a clunky game and allows each player to concern themselves with problem-solving. The Graphics are pretty well crafted for the style of the game and the music is pleasant. When I started the game, I was apprehensive due to the darker environment, but the tone is nearly story based. There is no “horror” aspect, even though it does have an aesthetic of “being watched” or at least that was the impression I was left with.
Let’s Get Physic-al
The Long Gate is difficult. I decided to hunt down an explanation of what I was missing. The game developer, David Shaw states, “Nearly all of The Long Gate’s puzzles are based on real-world technologies, and it contains accurate depictions of quantum circuits and a 4-bit quantum computer, verified by scientists at D-Wave Systems, the world’s first commercial quantum computer company.” This isn’t a statement to be taken lightly. I enjoyed the game for the puzzle quality, however, the math and physics side was a bit over my head. A basic understanding of math and physics is almost required.
Not a Short Circuit
If entering into this game you arrive with the appropriate level of knowledge to solve the required puzzles to forgo the story, this game shouldn’t be very long. Unfortunately, it took me quite a long time to navigate and traverse each level. The mystery in the coding and circuits was more than I bargained for and was often frustrating. With simple controls and a higher level of understanding, this is a game that could be considered enjoyable, albeit niche. The ending didn’t feel as rewarding as I had hoped, but that was likely more my fault rather than the game itself. I give it extra points for the ambiance, environment, and soundtrack, as simple as they may be.
Buy Now: 14.99
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* The Switch Effect was graciously provided this game code for review.