Portal Stories: Mel is a community made mod developed by Prism Studios and is available through Steam for PC and Mac. This is a stand alone game based on the Portal universe featuring (you guessed it) Mel.
Portal Stories: Mel takes place at the beginning of Aperture: Science’s establishment way back in the 1950’s. The setting is quite similar to the beginning of Portal 2 and also uses the gels, so you are in for a treat. The first chapter of the game is all cutscenes, so just enjoy. Cave Johnson just directs you through the establishment and guides you to your room/chamber for the test you volunteered for. Mel wakes up moments later and begins chapter 2 and you will be happy to know you don’t need to jump through any hoops to obtain the Portal Gun.
I will say that I wasn’t quite fond of the voice acting at the beginning. Well, at least not how the lines were delivered, whether it was intentional or not. The Cave Johnson in these pre-recorded messages seemed a bit… off from what I remember back in Portal 2. But when you take into consideration this was the early years of Aperture: Science it kind of makes sense. Still, wasn’t too fond at the beginning but it grew on me.
The gameplay is just like past Portal games, but I found myself getting stuck a lot more often and doing a lot of backtracking that includes jumping through portals. Not sure if the difficulty of these puzzles were intentionally made a bit harder (probably considering it is a community made game) to get you the most entertainment in the time allotted (roughly 6-10 hours of gameplay). Definitely a different pace from the other two games where you could just blast your way through multiple puzzles in mere moments where as this one offers more compact rooms with multilevel floors that does force backtracking. Sometimes it was okay but it can get really tedious really fast if you mess up and die.
The setting really gave off a Fallout-esque feel to it, which I attributed it to those “massive earthquakes” and overall color scheme. Kind of neat to be playing a game with a setting that has nothing to do with where you currently are. The water here of course is corrosive and simply kills you (**achievement**) rather than leaving you to slowly die of radiation.
This game is free of course, so if you love Portal games, pick this up and have a go. Echoes a lot of Portal 2 but done so in a unique fashion to give a different story and feel (definitely a lot more difficult).
- Difficulty: Hard
- Gameplay Score: 5/5 (Simple mechanics, difficult logic based puzzles.)
- Graphics Score: 4/5 (There is basically no indicator of dying other than you ceasing to move and the screen fades to black.)
- Music: 4/5 (Tuned out most of it while playing cause I was thinking too hard but the music in the first few chambers definitely got my attention.)
See you next game. -DecoyEC has logged off.