Faraday Protocol
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Faraday Protocol is a first-person puzzle game set in the unique testing chambers of an alien space station. The game features very striking visuals and gameplay that is simple to grasp but flexible enough to deliver lots of interesting puzzles. Using the Bia Tool to absorb and redistribute energy is a lot of fun, but the game veers a little too much into button-pushing territory towards the end. Nevertheless, despite some repetition, we really enjoyed Faraday Protocol and can heartily recommend it to fans of the genre.

Gameplay: Easy to grasp but filled with lots of clever puzzles.

Graphics: The overall aesthetics are very striking but a little lacking when it comes to variation.

Sound: The audio is minimal but decent

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Faraday Protocol

Developer: Red Koi Box  | Publisher: Deck13 | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Puzzle / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When a mysterious signal is detected coming from an unexplored star, the interstellar archaeologist Raug Zeekon is sent to investigate. Tracking down the signal reveals a seemingly abandoned space station called OPIS but no traces of organic life. However, the plot thickens when Raug explores the station and discovers a relic called the Bia Tool. This tool is able to absorb energy and redistribute it to different machinery, which comes in very handy as Raug ventures deeper into the puzzle-filled temples of OPIS.

The Portal games set the standard for first-person puzzle games, and while many have tried to follow in its footsteps, very few managed to come close. Faraday Protocol doesn’t stray far from the template with its energy manipulating weapon and test chambers, but it’s definitely not just an imitator. The game has a unique style of its own, and while its puzzles don’t reach the same heights as the Valve classic, they had us scratching our heads on more than one occasion.

Faraday Protocol opens with Raug touching down on OPIS, and from there, it pretty much leaves players to their own devices when it comes to figuring things out. Instead of a tutorial that spells out everything, players can quickly pick up what is expected from them by simply observing their surroundings. The majority of puzzles in Faraday Protocol involve using orange energy to charge objects or blue energy for completing circuits. Doing so is a matter of observing energy from one source and then discharging it in another. The Bia Tool can only hold one charge at a time, though, and there are all kinds of other elements, such as barriers and bridges, that adds an interesting twist to this formula. For example, players might be required to convert one form of energy into another to cross through a barrier and then find a way to convert it back. While it might not sound very innovative when described this way, there are lots of clever variations to be found in the game.

The other central puzzle element in Faraday Protocol is buttons, which is less enjoyable than using the Bia Tool. These buttons typically need to be pressed to manipulate symbols that have to match the ones found elsewhere in the room. Like with the energy manipulation, there are some clever variations for using the buttons, but it felt like later levels in the game skewed a little too heavily to pattern matching. This inevitably causes some repetition as well as players move from one room to the next only to be confronted by more complicated versions of the same button puzzles. Faraday Protocol also used to feature some platforming hopping sections, but credit to the developers for removing these based on less than favorable player feedback.

Visually Faraday Protocol features a retrofuturism aesthetic which is quite eye-catching. The black and gold color scheme is not only unique but also makes it easy to spot puzzle elements or clues. Most of the test chambers are very minimally decorated, apart from some Egyptian-style statues that fit the game’s look. Unfortunately, the uniform look and feel of the test chambers do mean less visual variety, especially after the stroll through a beautiful forest at the start of the game. However, it was interesting to see how the test chambers go from very pristine in the first half of the game to areas in more disrepair during the second half.

Like the visuals, the audio in Faraday Protocol is relatively minimal. There is some occasional music, but it mostly feels like you are completing puzzles in relative silence. The sound effects are good, though, and we appreciated the audio chime that alerted us every time we completed a puzzle. In addition, while the voice acting is sparse, the quality is decent. We played Faraday Protocol with a keyboard and never had any trouble navigating any of the environments. Since we completed the game after the update that removed most of the jumping puzzles, we never encountered anything that required reflexes over puzzle-solving.

In total, it took us about seven hours to complete Faraday Protocol, and surprisingly for a puzzle game, the story actually featured some interesting revelations along the way. Since the game is very linear, the only replay value comes from the optional hidden collectibles that can be found during the levels. These are tucked away so well that we didn’t even know about their existence until halfway through the game. Fortunately, Faraday Protocol has a level select screen that can be accessed from the main menu, making it easier to go back and find them.

Overall, we really enjoyed our time with Faraday Protocol, and solving some of the puzzles was very satisfying. The game is designed in such a way that it is impossible to get stuck or misuse puzzle elements, which frees players up to try out anything. The developers also did an excellent job splitting puzzles up into manageable chunks, so the game never feels overwhelming. In some cases, players might have to backtrack through a few rooms to swap energy sources or flip switches, but usually, there’s never any doubt about where to go next. The amount of button pushing puzzles during the last act of the game did become a little monotonous, but at no point did we feel like giving up.

Although Faraday Protocol shares some similarities with games like Portal, the focus is very much on the puzzles, so don’t expect as much story or world-building. It does have its fair share of challenging puzzles, but nothing that ever feels illogical or insurmountable. In addition, we appreciate the fact that the game doesn’t hold your hand, though, and trusts you to figure out its logic by observing your surroundings. The bottom line is if you enjoy first-person puzzle games, you’ll definitely want to play Faraday Protocol.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7 64bit or later
  • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz or faster
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 770 GTX or AMD Radeon HD 7970 or higher
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64bit
  • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 3.0 GHz or faster
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or higher
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 4 GB available space

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