First Impression: Alpha Particle

Developer: Function Unknown

Release Date: 28 April, 2021

Platform: Windows

Genre: Platformer

By Chris Picone, 26April 2021

I received Alpha Particle out of the blue and fired it up with absolutely no expectations. I was immediately wowed by the intro screen, which was super polished and “playable,” so you can start learning the game before you’ve even fired up the tutorial. I was still a little lost when I loaded into the first level but that’s okay; the particle (the protagonist of this strange adventure) was as puzzled as I was: This is a game that gives you all the tools you need but leaves you to explore and experiment and work things out as you go.

The game itself is hard to describe – I guess the most relatable experience might be one of those “hacking” sub-games you see in Shadowrun or Dex but it isn’t that simple. Essentially, each level has a switch which must be activated by destroying all the entities in the room. Each entity has its own strengths and weaknesses – one might become enraged by fire, moving faster and more aggressively if it comes into contact with a fire element, whereas another might be slowed or killed by it. Each entity also has its own movement patterns; some are chasers, some patrol irregularly, some follow patterns, others are static and must be baited. Levels are filled with lethal and non-lethal obstacles, traps, and a range of elements that affect you and the other entities in different ways. Sometimes the game is fast-paced as you race around the room baiting or fleeing from entities. Sometimes it’s slow as you carefully navigate a maze or try to solve a puzzle.

So, my first impression? It’s super sleek, it’s creative, and best of all, it all feels very unique. I’m only on the third station so far so there’s plenty of game ahead of me yet and I can’t wait to dig in.