Portal is a legendary first-person puzzle/gravity game developed and published by Valve in 2007.
I say “gravity game” because Portal combines basic physics (acceleration, velocity, gravity, and inertia), with the ability to open up entry and exit portals, to create a game so beautifully simple-yet-complex that it is almost beyond belief…
And there is a story in there. A brilliant story. And a hint of an incredible backstory with vast, empty rooms inside what seems to be an underground office complex – you can see that you’re part of some sinister experiment, but the ‘truth’ about what exactly is going on is tantalisingly out of reach.
As Portal progresses it transforms from a fairly simple puzzle game – a series of tests at the behest of a central (female) computer program called GLaDOS – into a conspiracy survival mystery, still with puzzles to solve, only with a darker, meaner edge.
The single-player game is relatively short, but oh is it sweet… Portal is very dense for a short game, and completing it and seeing the ending makes it well worth the effort. Not that it takes much effort, because it’s quite easy to complete. Which is not a problem because it’s a game you’ll want to re-play for sure.
Portal can be remotely played together with friends and it also has a number of very challenging bonus maps. And it doesn’t end there… It’s also a very popular speedrunning game too.
Development of Portal is almost as interesting as the game itself. It started out as a game created by students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology – called ‘Narbacular Drop‘ – and released free on the Internet in 2005. Valve took an interest in the game and hired the entire team to develop the game further, which later became Portal.
Of its type, there’s only one other game I can think of that is better than Portal, and that’s its sequel, Portal 2. Together, both titles represent the pinnacle of 3D puzzle gaming. There really is nothing better out there!