The Z-Axis Continuum is a 2D puzzler inspired by Portal. You control a little stick figure who can do very little other than jump a tiny height and walk left or right. But that makes it sound far too simple. The main event sees you rotating levels, dropping through portals and trying to get to the end as quickly as possible.
Developed by Laserpants Studios LLC, this fun little puzzler can be quite challenging as it has quite a steep learning curve to grasp.
The first seven levels are designed to introduce you to the game mechanics and there are 30 in total. You can spin the world on a 2D axis in order to manipulate various parts. Buttons must be pressed to open coloured doors – either with the player character or boxes – and portals can be used to get to other parts of the level. Your objective is to get to the glowing white dot.
Rotation is locked to the character but physics affect the various doors and those boxes so you’re constantly fiddling to get things into the right place. To make things more difficult, levels are also filled with hazards such as spikes or the dreaded “no rotation zones”. Things that can initially look easy, often turn into a game of trial and error as you figure your way through the levels.
You have limited control of the camera, so seeing what you’re tinkering with makes things more difficult. It turns out it’s pretty easy to think you know what you’re doing only to end up locked in a room and having to restart. It’s also pretty easy to hit buttons that close routes you’ve opened or fly through portals if you get to close. Thankfully, there’s a quick restart option so you can get going again.
Graphically it’s simple. As I said, the whole thing is presented in 2D with brightly coloured doors and their corresponding buttons. The no-rotate zones flash so they’re also pretty easy to distinguish. The rest are solid black lines and the white stickman that you control. The backgrounds themselves are quite colourful but with this simple design, it’s easy to see what you’re meant to interact with, even if you don’t know how.
The sound is basic but I didn’t expect an epic soundtrack. Overall, it’s functional but doesn’t add anything or take anything away from the game.
Other than getting stuck a few times and finding the controls to be a little imprecise, it was bug free. No crashes, no frame rate hiccups. It ran well as you’d expect from something like this.
It was a fun little game, challenging to the occasional point of frustration, but worthwhile if you enjoy puzzlers. It wasn’t perfect and not being able to see the whole level made things more difficult but again it added to the challenge.
• Simple to pick up
• Offers a challenge
• Easy to control
• Sometimes too difficult to see what you’re meant to be doing