Review – Relicta

Games like The Sojourn, Lightmatter, and the recent Switch version of The Turing Test are proof that the subgenre of puzzle games I like to call “first-person games inspired by Portal” is alive and well. The latest release to be included in this surprisingly robust list is Mighty Polygon’s Relicta; a game that has some really interesting ideas, but overuses them to the point of exhaustion.


It’s not as cute as a Portal companion cube, but it’s still quite charming.

If anything, Relicta really nailed its setting. This is one of those games set in the not-so-distant future, on a heavily terraformed (and gorgeous) version of the Earth’s moon, now called Luna, full of different biomes such as forests and tundras. It’s your typical story of scientists messing with unknown space elements, malfunctioning laboratories, uninteresting family drama… and somehow, there are puzzle mechanics heavily inspired by Portal included in here.

The gameplay revolves around carrying cube-shaped artifacts towards designated switches in order to unlock a gate to the next puzzle. It’s a very simple and linear loop. You can’t even go back to a previous room after you’ve solved its puzzle, so Relicta is as linear as a game can be. Besides a handful of collectibles scattered throughout these linear sections, as well as some slightly more open pseudo-hub sections, there’s little to no reason for you to go back to previous areas anyway, or even tackling these puzzles on a second playthrough.


You can repel cubes if the feature the same color/polarity. If you put one on top of the other and change their polarities afterwards, you will launch one of the cubes way up high.

Thankfully, Relicta‘s puzzle-solving mechanics are quite unique. All of those games have a gimmick in which their puzzles are based around. Relicta‘s puzzles revolve around magnetism and gravity. Your protagonist wields a special gauntlet that can manipulate the magnetic polarity of these cubes, as well as the strength of their gravitational field. You need to use nearby magnetic generators in order to attract or repel your cubes, occasionally using them as platforms you can hop on and ride in order to cross large gaps on the map. You can also use the environment’s terrain, such as the curved ceiling of a cave, in order to change the direction of a cube’s linear inertia-based path, for instance.


Never trust these overly lavish and pristine space stations. You know what will eventually happen.

This is all fine and dandy, but there’s an issue. This is all Relicta has to offer, with the exception of its forgettable plot. It will constantly throw repetitive puzzles with the same solution method at you until you either beat the game or give up on it halfway through. The second half of this unnecessarily lengthy game features some really annoying sections that infuriate more than stimulate your brain. The game doesn’t progressively add new features and solution methods like other puzzles out there, meaning that you’ll constantly solve the same magnetism and gravity-based puzzles over and over again.


All things considered, it’s a good looking game.

Relicta is a good game with some really clever and thought-provoking puzzles, but it overstays its welcome with its extended length. Not to mention the absence of additions of new features throughout its campaign and an overall uninteresting story filled with uninteresting characters and unskippable cutscenes. There is no shortage of higher quality puzzlers out there, but if you’re a big fan of the genre, maybe give this one a shot. You’ll probably have enough fun with it to warrant a single playthrough, but that’s basically it.


Graphics: 8.0

It might be set on the moon, but since it’s a heavily terraformed version, you’re greeted with some really impressive and varied environments. It’s a gorgeous game hampered by an unimpressive resolution and occasional framerate drops.

Gameplay: 7.0

Relicta‘s gameplay revolves around manipulating the gravity and magnetic polarity of some special cubes scattered throughout the levels. The game is filled with smart and thought-provoking puzzles, but it doesn’t introduce anything new after the first couple of levels. As a result, it becomes repetitive.

Sound: 7.0

For the most part, the game is actually silent, featuring only sound effects coming from the nature surrounding you. There is quite a bit of voice acting in here, however, and it’s fairly decent.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Relicta features an interesting puzzle-based gameplay, but it gets repetitive after a while. The story isn’t engaging enough to make me care that much about the characters as well.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Relicta is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Relicta was provided by the publisher.