Faraday Protocol review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Deck 13
Developer: Red Koi Box
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

A couple of years ago, I reviewed a first-person puzzler called The Sojourn. I don’t really remember it, but in my review I said that its big problem was that it came out in 2019, when the whole “inspired by Portal” thing had been done to death, rather than, say, in 2014, when it might have stood a chance of seeming original, rather than being buried in a sea of Talos Principle or The Witness or QUBE or Spectrum Retreat or any of the multitude of other similar games out there.

I mostly feel the same way about Faraday Protocol – only instead of 2019, it’s out in 2021, meaning it has an extra two years of first-person puzzlers weighing it down to make it feel even more like an also-ran in the genre.

I mean, I’ve certainly played worse also-rans, as these games go. With its black-and-gold palette, it stands out against the many of the other genre games that imitate the stark, largely white-coloured world of Portal. There’s also a nod towards world-building and a plot, since you play as an “interstellar archeologist” (name: Raug Zeekon) investigating a mysterious signal from an unexplored star, and as you go through the planet (which isn’t really a star, but that’s beside the point) you uncover artifacts from an alien civilization. .

But once you get beyond that, you quickly discover how linear it all is. There’s one way to solve most of the puzzles here, and rarely are those solutions difficult to figure out. Even when they get a bit challenging, just zapping around the room(s) with your Portal gun – sorry, your “Bia Tool” – tends to solve things, as you suck energy from one place and shoot it at another. The rooms start feeling repetitive after awhile too, since as unique as that black & gold colour scheme is, it also makes everything feel dark and same-y.

Also, you’re led through the game by an AI named IRIS. Let’s just say she’s no GLaDOS.

Obviously, expecting any game to live up to the standards set by one of the best of all time is unfair. And as I said, Faraday Protocol does a couple of things well enough that it’s clearly not the worst game that has followed in Portal’s footsteps over the past decade-plus. But it also doesn’t do anything so well that you need to rush out and get it right now, so it’s really just for first-person puzzler fans only.

Deck 13 provided us with a Faraday Protocol Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B