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Can’t Wait For Portal 2? Try These Games Instead

I know how you feel.  I'm dying to get my mitts on the new Portal game just as much as anyone, but I can wait out the coming days until its release because I planned ahead and stocked on some methadone to control my cravings.  And when I say methadone, I mean PC games that sorta remind me of the Portal series.  If you're having trouble making it through the remaining torturous hours until Portal 2 goes live on your Steam account, then check out some of these shooter/ puzzle hybrids.

Narbacular Drop
Pretty much every knows the legend about a rag-tag band Digi-Pen students who made a little shooter puzzle game called Narbacular Drop, which was so innovative that it drew the attention of some big-time game developers called Valve.  But how many of you have actually PLAYED that little game that these kids worked so hard on?  Well, you can download it at the link below, for free.

Now, don't expect it to be full of robots and stuff.  Narbacular Drop was about a fairy princess who made magic portals for her enchanted adventures, but the core gameplay is still the same.  It was also short, with a simple story, and graphics that looked like something from the 90's, but the game is definitely worthy of your time, and there is even a 2d concept demo available.

The Ball
This one is also a story about a scrappy indie developer with a "Can Do" attitude and a heart of gold.  It was originally the runner up in the "Make Something Unreal" contest for Unreal modders.  Yet its basic idea of players solving puzzles and fighting mummies with a giant stone ball controlled by a mystic gun was so good that it was turned into a full commercial product.  

It has a lot in common with Portal; you have to manipulate the environment to solve puzzles, there are enemies but you fight them with indirect means, and it's all based around using the game's physics engine to reach your goals.  As with Narbacular Drop, the story and design favor the supernatural over Sci-Fi, but The Ball is a worthwhile investment for Portal fans, especially since it's currently on sale at Steam, with an all new Portal-themed level!

Fallout 3: Cube Experimental
Another freebie, and one that is only suggested for hardcore Portal junkies in need of a fix right fast.  Cube Experimental is a mod for Fallout 3, and not a stand alone game.  It lack polish, and Fallout doesn't quite support the sort of physics-based gameplay of Portal, but this mod is still strongly inspired by Chell's adventures at Aperture, so it's something to consider if you already own a copy of Fallout 3 (And you damned well oughtta).  Much hard work has obviously gone into this mod and, even though it is frequently frustrating, with an anticlimactic ending, it's still a chance to play through a new Portal-esque story.

Narbacular Drop is no longer available for download at Digipen, but a simple google search for "Download Narbacular Drop" will yield plenty of good options.  Fortunately, the 2D concept demo can still be downloaded from Digi-pen's website, The Ball is currently on sale at Steam, and Cube Experimental can be found on the Fallout Nexus.


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