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Portal (Series) Review

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Posted: 21 months ago, last updated 11 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer, @JonahMonaghan and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of increasingly ingenious (and malicious) test chambers, you must use your gun to escape. It’s a mind-bending challenge, but the real interest is the darkening tone of GLaDOS, who seems bent on foiling your progress, and the signs of previous test subjects spotted behind the scenes. As GLaDOS’s dysfunction turns to straight-up sociopathy, you must take on challenges with her tormenting discouragement ringing in your ears. The isolation is heightened by the introduction of a lifeless companion cube, which mocks your friendless predicament.

Portal is a series of puzzles that you solve with physics and lateral thinking. But behind the puzzles is the bigger mystery of where you are, and what these tests are for. This persists through the different games in the series:
  • Portal (2007) originally releases as part of The Orange Box pack. It was then released stand alone on PC, Mac,
  • Portal: The Flash Version (2008) was a spin-off for the web browser with lots of new test chamber puzzles using the portal gun,
  • Portal: Still Alive (2008) is a version for Xbox 360. This added challenges from the existing test chambers.
  • Portal 2 (2011) was released on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. It introduced two-player puzzles and featured a floating droid named Wheatley (voiced by Stephen Merchant).

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Web, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @ValveSoftware

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 4 hours and 9 hours to complete.
 
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. You can play Portal 2 co-operatively. The time to complete the game ranges widely as it depends on how fast you solve the mind-bending logic puzzles.

CostsCosts

Portal usually costs £9.99 to £14.99.
 

Portal 2

Xbox One £14.99

Portal: Still Alive

Xbox One £9.99
 
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Portal Still Alive is rated PEGI 12 with language and violence. ESRB rated it TEEN with blood and mild violence. Players must avoid various hazards including gun turrets, which fire upon the player when encountered. When the player is shot, blood splatter can result on back walls of hallways and rooms.

Portal 2 is rated PEGI 12 with language and violence. ESRB rated it EVERYONE 10+ for fantasy violence and mild language. Players must avoid hazards such as stationary gun turrets, toxic substances, poisonous gas, and giant pistons; some sequences are accompanied by realistic gunfire. Robot droids can also be destroyed; for example, in one boss battle, players must defeat a robot by throwing small bombs. The words "damn" and "hell" can be heard in the dialogue.


Skill Rating: This game is enjoyed by 6+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity. One family told us, "My boys were 7- and 9-years-old when they enjoyed Portal 2 together. They worked to complete each level and spent some time joking about (lots of trust fall type scenarios in Portal 2). Here's a video of Dylan when he was 6 and playing Portal 1. The things they work out on their own is amazing."

AccessibilityAccessibility

Portal does not provide closed captioning for the tone of the speaker, however, the environment sounds are captioned.

Note, Portal can be modified using an in-game console to provide a more accessible experience. These console modifications are not included in our list of accessibility details.
 
Our Portal Accessibility Report details 27 accessibility features:

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Games Like Portal

Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Portal or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Portal, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 12 or ESRB TEEN games.

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The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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