Portal (Series)

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Posted: 9 months ago, last updated 5 months ago.

Author: Andy 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).

DetailsDetails

Release Date: October 2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Web Browser, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation.

 

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

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.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games... read more about system accessibility settings.


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Similar Games

The following games are like Portal. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Portal for younger age ratings.

Portal is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Portal in the following lists:

Solve a Mystery

Like a good crime drama or whodunnit novel, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. However, rather than just watching these mysteries while someone else does the heavy lifting, these video games place you firmly in the role of the detective. Gathering statements, sifting evidence and making intelligent leaps of deduction requires care and attention. These investigations makes these games slower than others, but it’s worth the effort each time you find the correct conclusion and move the story on.

These games present you with a mysterious scenario to be solved. Whether with direct puzzles, locations to investigate or crime scenarios to deduce, they offer a unique, first-hand sleuthing challenge.
 

Great Games Without In-App Purchases

In-app purchases are small items that you can spend real money on in games. These often add levels, a new character or different attire. Games that are either free to start playing, like Fortnite or Roblox often make money via the in-app purchase route.

The games in this list are really good for families but have all been selected because they don't include any in-app purchase costs. You either pay a single up-front cost or they enable you to play them for free.
 

Commit No Violence

While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.

Many of them are aimed at children and families, but you'll be surprised how many explore deeper, more mature themes in their narratives, or require just as much skill as a fast-paced first-person shooter. This means there's plenty of offer for parents who might lack the reflexes (or interest) to survive a round of Fortnite.

We've focused on the games you might not expect to be played non-violently here, but you can find the full list at Non-Violent Games Of the Day curated by James Batchelor.
 

Build Personal Resilience

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves "bouncing back" from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Games, by design, present players with adversity and much of the joy of gaming comes from taking on and overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Whether you’re saving the universe from an alien invasion or tending crops in your animal community, playing games mimics the process of resilience.

Image 163 This list of games that can help foster various forms of psychological resilience is compiled with the expert help of Take This. They aim to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. They encourage a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.

The Portal series tell a narrative that you are going to fail. You’re told to give up, but if you ignore this barrage of discouragement you can use it as a way to strengthen your resolve and complete the puzzles even if you have failed twenty times in the process. The Stanley Parable is all about trying again. You can try and re-try your decision making, reaching a variety of different endings.

Dark Souls is a hallmark for a punishing challenge that require resilience. You journey through elaborate lands to adventure, explore, and take heed lest they encounter a battle with a boss or enemy. Celeste is the story of Madeline and the enemies she overcomes while climbing Celeste Mountain. The game specifically calls out that Madeline has anxiety, and the challenges she faces in the environment reflect her own internal struggles and triumphs. Cuphead challenges players to battle relentless bosses in combat-heavy play. Cartoonish and playful, it balances challenging players to grow in skill and offers plenty of entertaining environments and aesthetics to keep you playing.

In Kingdom Hearts you meet many characters that need help - and many boss battles feel almost insurmountable. With help from friends like Donald and Goofy, the player character Sora overcomes the darkness to save his friends and bring hope back to the world. Death Squared is a co-op puzzle game where one player’s mistake makes everyone else lose. You learn cooperative resilience in trying again admits humorous judgments from the unseen “hosts” of the game.

In Animal Crossing you get help from the animal neighbours. You learn to lean on this social and environmental resilience to persevere at building social connections with computer villagers and friends online. Stardew Valley’s farming is about growing and maintaining a homestead. Interweaving the busy work are relationships with the other villagers, many of whom are social models for resilience in their storylines.
 

Remote Play Together With Steam

Some games are designed with online play. For those that only have local multiplayer, you can use a feature on Steam called Steam Remote Play Together to play these games with a friend in another place as if they were sat next to you. You can use online chat pass the controls back and forth or each control different players to co-operate or compete.

Not all games support these feature but for those that do, listed here, all you need is one copy of the game for the two of you, an account on Steam and a PC to play on in your separate locations and a good internet connection.

You can also use the Steam Remote Play Anywhere feature to stream your games from you PC to another device like a smartphone or tablet. This enables you to play in a different room of the house or on the go.
 
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