Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark – Review
Follow Genre: Indie adventure 2D platformer
Developer: Italic Pig
Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Tested on: PlayStation 4

Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark – Review

Site Score
Good: great character design, intelligent quark-mechanic, top notch voicing
Bad: annoying blur during intro movie, difficulty inconsistent
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

What if quantum physics would be visible to the naked eye? What if you could physically visit the Particle Zoo and gaze at the building blocks of our world and the beyond? What if Schrödinger’s Cat was no longer a mere thought experiment but a catastic jumping quark-using superhero? Well dream no further, because this is exactly what Italic Pig and Team17 bring to the gaming world. Join us as we tackle the Quantum world in this quirky 2D adventure platformer and you’ll see Physics does not need to stop being interesting at the school gates.

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Not all is well at the Particle Zoo. A sinister being has shown its presence, plunging the whole establishment, which holds all particles known (and not known) to man into utter chaos, forcing a lock-down. Elemental particles, the building blocks of all matter, are now scattered all over the place. If that wasn’t enough, strange -er, I mean- ‘odd’ ones have found their way out of the Nucleus, blocking the one way to salvation… or utter destruction. While the particles work out their mischief, there is only one being who is able to set things right: Schrödinger’s Cat. Being both dead and alive at the very same time surely has its perks in this world. Although enemies and sticky goo can chip away at the hero’s health, there is no such thing as true death thanks to kitty’s state of quantum superposition. However, this power and witty one liners alone won’t help him to get to the bottom of this mess. Luckily four types of friendly quarks are willing to help Cat out in his adventure. But will the help be enough to avert a subatomic catastrophe?

The story clearly has a massive foot in nerd/geek-culture. Both humour and the general narrative draw heavily upon aspects of Quantum Physics. While this means a lot of jokes will go way over the head of people not having the slightest clue what these are referring to, the game is luckily still very enjoyable and funny. Though The Raiders of the Lost Quark bases key elements on the Standard Model of Fundamental Particles, it doesn’t make the mistake of wanting to accurately portray them and possibly alienate a mass of players. Instead we get an adventure full of colourful characters, peculiar circumstances, references to gaming and movies and a basic story which gives out enough information to get players of any age going.

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Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark has some great 2D art going on. All characters have great wacky designs that add to the odd-ness of the Particle Zoo. Cat himself, while less exotic than any of the zookeepers, is a great example of the simple yet effective character-design in this game. Being both alive and dead means the feline has a bit of a stylised Hela-vibe going on. One half of Cat is purple, showing his life state, the other is black, signifying death. This also gets translated into the ‘life bar’, a minimalistic version of his face which blackens as he takes damage.

The many particles you meet along the way also have some very interesting designs. Despite not looking like it at first glance, a lot of these actually do translate into actual characteristics of their ‘real-life’ counterparts. Bosons for example are massive creatures in the game, especially compared to quarks. Although these are based on the mediators of weak interaction or weak force, being the W- and Z-bosons, they look quite imposing due to the actual particle’s colossal mass. Gluons on the other hand, which technically also are bosons but aren’t referred to as such in Raiders of the Lost Quark, loosely resemble the first letter of their name. However, there’s a lot more to it than just that. Gluons, being the exchange particles for the strong force between quarks, are played out as Quark-stealers in the game. Even concepts like ‘glueballs’ appear in game this way, which makes that finding these sorts of ‘hidden-in-plain-sight’ secrets adds much more debt to an otherwise already good looking game.

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The levels themselves can look both weird and interesting. Although the building blocks of the actual levels stay relatively alike, the background can change drastically. Some look bright and colourful while others are dull or add an extra difficulty of hiding particles due to their colour scheme. Especially the latter can be incredibly annoying when hinting for Gluons for example. Furthermore, a lot of levels carry hidden figures or typical equations as another sort of easter egg for you to discover. Though this is fun, it unfortunately doesn’t always make a level a good one.

One part which was particularly striking on the Playstation 4 was the intro animation. While it is Italic Pig’s full right to make an intro out of stills which flow into each other, it felt a bit dated. The fact there is an annoying blur on some of the pictures didn’t exactly help to make the intro enjoyable to watch. A lot would have looked better had the blur just not been there in the first place.


If one thing can be said, it’s that the sound is of stellar quality in this game. The theme is upbeat and makes you want to jump right into the game. Schrödinger’s Cat is also completely voiced. And all by the very same, extremely talented A.J. Locascio. Seriously, that guy knows his voices. To be honest, we could have never guessed the tiny quarks and our heroic feline had more in common than a shared love for building things. Well, that and hearing them all go ‘Yeah baby’ Austin Powers-like of course. The sound is pretty loud though, even when you put it lower in game, so it is advisable to adjust the volume on the tv manually.

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As a 2D side scrolling platformer, Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark brings a lot of good old 90s platforming to the fray while adding some interesting new mechanics. It even gave us a bit of a 2D Rayman cross Worms vibe with its clever gameplay. The latter isn’t all that strange, seeing as the Worms series were also developed by Team 17. In Raiders of the Lost Quark however, you play as Schrödinger’s Cat, a heroic feline that is dead and alive at the very same time. Called out to help clear escaped particles in the Particle Zoo, you set out into the world using your left analog stick while jumping and beating up nasties is easily done with the cross and square buttons. This far, all is pretty standard stuff, until the quarks are introduced.

Quarks are what give this game its own special spin in the gameplay area. These tiny particles, or at least four out of six basic varieties, can be found anywhere within the Particle Zoo. While Charm and Strange quarks are much rarer, Up, Down, Top and Bottom can be spotted in every single level and happily travel along with you. As building blocks to create larger particles, these little buddies and their unique characteristics and personalities form the basis of a useful new superpower for our Cat: the power of Combination.

All the quarks that you collect along the way follow the hero around like a cloud of fat fireflies. The moment a minimum of three are part of your fan base, Schrödinger’s Cat is able to activate his power and fuse them together. Reminiscent of reality, combining three quarks results in something new and exciting. However, the game isn’t just going to let you puzzle protons and neutrons into existence. No, it gets even better.

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The Up, Down, Top and Bottom each have their own special powers to toy with. Whereas yellow Up creates movement, blue Down has a way with destroying things. Meanwhile the green Top is all about protection and the red Bottom has a heart for construction work. Combining these characteristics is done by using the shoulder buttons on the controller (L1 for Up, L2 for Down, R1 for Top, R2 for Bottom). Mixing three Ups for example nets a helicopter that can carry you out of the deepest pits while an Up, Down and Top combine movement, destruction and protection, actually forming a highly volatile destructive component being held under pressure in a nice little ball. In other words: a bomb. With 14 different ways to combine four little quarks, Cat has a massive arsenal of ways to overcome any obstacle on his way. Or does he?

The game’s levels vary in difficulty greatly. While some have enough Quarks lying about to just do your thing and get from savepoint to savepoint without hassle, others make it a point of limiting the available arsenal greatly in order to force the player to really work those grey braincells in order to find workable solutions. These variations in difficulty however make it a bit hard to pinpoint the exact target audience for Raiders of the Lost Quark. People who love the harder challenges might get bored with the levels holding abundant quarks. At the same time, others might get frustrated at the sudden loss of freedom in their game. Furthermore, certain parts in game are generated and can thus change from game to game. However, we still question if this really raises the replayability all that much.

Levels can be really big, which means you can easily get lost. Luckily Raiders of the Lost Quark offers the option to zoom out for a bit, giving you a broader view of the platforms and location of quarks, enemies and other interesting things. But what if forgetting which quarks make up what is your real problem? It is true that at the start of the game the many different possibilities can make your head spin a little. Schrödinger’s Cat however doesn’t leave you to your own devices while being stuck in such a predicament. Simply opening up the pause menu shows a great overview of the combos you’ve managed to unlock and how to recreate them, making the list a handy reference throughout the game.

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Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark feels like a casual and fun marriage between modern Physics, geeky humour and 90s platformers. The gameplay, which breathes that same 90s vibe, still feels pretty unique thanks to many different quark-combinations you can use to advance in game. The great character-design and fantastic sound and voicework bring the game to pretty high-quality standards. Variations in difficulty might however cause for some frustration and the Quantum physics jokes, while this is a super plus, will probably fly over a lot of heads. However, the title still manages to bring enough to the table to be enjoyable for a very wide audience.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark – Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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