June 13, 2021

Tons Of Hun Studios

Unity Game Development, Devlogs

Portal 2: Perfect Puzzle Progression

2 min read
Portal 2

Portal 2. It is one of the legendary games released by Valve and can provide hours of fun to this day. Portal is a great example of making a game with a simple concept so in-depth and so entertaining. Using your portal gun, you solve a variety of puzzles using the objects and surfaces around you. Where I think the light of Portal 2 shines most bright is with its puzzle progression. They are seemingly organized and utilized in a specific way, culminating to a crazy peak. The game holds your hand and guides you at the beginning, but let’s go on the final level. However, by then you are properly prepared. Here is how Portal 2 does progression right.

Nearly every game on the planet has a tutorial, including Portal 2. It’s first few levels get you familiarized with the portal gun and white surfaces, while the beginnings of chapters show you how to use companion cubes, buttons, and colored gels. All of these mechanics are presented in a calm and easy manner, in the assorted test chambers of the facility. You are (most of the time) safe, and can take your time learning and mastering each mechanic.

Portal 2 also makes sure that you thoroughly understand the first mechanic before moving onto the next. You first have to crawl before you can walk. You first understand the concepts of moving through portals, then flying through them, then transferring objects and materials through them. You can not pass a level without fully understanding the mechanic. This means on the future levels, you can build on top of your previous knowledge. This is essentially crucial for the final level.

The final level of Portal 2 is a boss fight. It is fast paced, forcing you to make decisions quickly. If you were thrown into the last level after only playing through the first 2 chambers, you would get frustrated and ultimately fail. This is because you have not trained yourself to react to the situations at hand.

This goes into basic human psychology. If you practice throwing a basketball over and over again, eventually you won’t even have to think about it when someone tosses you the ball. The same goes for Portal 2. After spending so much time practicing using the portals and assorted mechanics, when you are called upon to utilize them, it is much easier. All you really need to think about is when to use a certain mechanic. I felt that the boss fight was actually easier than the previous levels. This was because all my hours spent previously figuring out the puzzles had trained me for that moment.

Portal 2 does a great job at teaching the player the game’s mechanics and prepares them for the final stages. Rather than have the players repeatedly fail at a level they are unprepared for, the game teaches them in a slow paced environment first, properly preparing them for the “desperate” times.

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