I’ve played a lot of puzzle games. It’s a genre I’ve always had enjoyed and keep finding myself coming back to after playing a few longer games. Causality is deceptively simple in its first few levels. It quickly builds on previous ideas to create interesting scenarios with its different mechanics being combined in different ways. It wasn’t long before I found myself needing a few minutes to complete a level rather than the few seconds the first few levels required. There are even a lot of levels that I found myself replaying immediately after completing them just to appreciate what had just happened, which is a sign of a great puzzle game.
Causality has a very simple request. You need to get one or more astronauts to their matching escape portals. It may not sound like much but it’ll take some thinking to achieve this goal. For starters, you don’t actually control the astronauts. Rather than actually moving them to where they need to go, you’ll simply allow time to pass and the level to play out as it naturally would. Astronauts will go in a certain direction and you need to alter levels and manipulate objects and time to get them to their portal. There’s only a certain amount of time to get them there too but don’t worry, you’re not rushed. One of the things you control is the passage of time. You can rewind or have time pass whenever you want to. If an astronaut is killed or you just don’t complete the level and need to restart it, it’s not a problem at all. There are no lives. There’s no limit to how many times you can fail.
Causality places the layout in front of you and you manipulate it as needed. If you succeed, you’re off to the next level. If not, you can keep trying until you do. It’s a very satisfying experience. There were quite a few times I’d get stuck for a few minutes but the solution was always right in front of me. As you allow time to pass, you get to manipulate floor panels to move the astronaut(s) in the directions you need them to go. When you fail, you can see why and while the solution may not be immediate, you can work off the error to figure out what you need to do.
Across its 60 levels you will be tasked with a number of different variables and mechanics. These will range from multiple astronauts, copies being created that will work together in the environment, panels that have tentacles underneath that can grab and eat you, and also a few others. These are combined in some interesting ways and quite often I found myself reminded of the many “Aha!” moments and realizations that I felt during my playthrough of Portal 2. The majority of the levels had me smiling from ear to ear as I completed them. A lot of them I even jumped back to the main menu so I could replay them again because of how satisfying they were to complete again. The game design and level layouts are solid. My only regret is that there isn’t a mobile port of this because I’d love to be able to play it on the go. It is available on the Playstation Vita as well though and so I may pick it up on there once I get a Vita.
The graphics are sharp. They have a charm and style that match the gameplay and mood quite well. They go really well with the music and sound effects as well. The music and sounds are definitely more moody and atmospheric. I can’t recall any of the music from memory. They’re catchy in a different way; they pull you in and help accent the tone that the visuals set.
I completed the entire game in about four hours but I tend to be slower than others sometimes with some types of puzzles. I was pretty good at Portal 2 for example but I definitely wasn’t fast. Levels will generally take a few minutes but there are some that will take several minutes. It never feels unfair or too difficult. Sure, it may be tricky but it obeys all the rules that it sets. It’s just your job to manipulate everything within those rules to succeed and reach the end. I also replayed portions for enjoyment and for the purposes of this review too so you may find yourself completing the game in three hours or so.
I personally don’t like to factor cost into a game’s review. It’s a subjective thing that we all have different amounts of and it shouldn’t have any impact on the game’s score. I consider games to be art and think art should be on its own merits. It’s worth mentioning as an aside though in conversations about games though because bang-for-buck is nice to know. This game may not be incredibly long but it costs four dollars on Steam. It may be a short experience but it’s an extremely satisfying time that will surprise you more times than you’ll be able to count. I’d recommend picking it up on PC, PS4, or PS Vita if you’re interested in puzzle games in any capacity. Causality was a memorable time and once I’ve played a few other things and forgotten the details I’ll definitely be booting this game back up again.
A Steam Key for Causality was Provided by Loju for the Purposes of this Review
Causality was a unique and exciting time. I know I’ll be replaying on PC or maybe even on the Vita once I purchase one. I’d love to hear what you think about it if you pick it up. You can let me know by commenting below or by contacting me on Twitter at @Mrjoshnichols. You can always contact us on Twitter too at @BagoGames. For more great reviews and other great stuff, make sure to follow us on Twitter so you can see all of it when it first goes up!