It was hard not to root for the developers at TeamKill Media, with the idea of four brothers looking to create a game as a tribute to their firefighter father quite a touching one. Quantum Error looked pretty cool in early footage too, with its blend of horror and firefighting certainly a unique one.
It’s disappointing then that the game has ended up as a bit of a mess, with it not only riddled with issues but also not especially fun to play.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Quantum Error is set in the year 2109 and sees players take on the role of Jacob Thomas, a firefighter who finds himself facing a cosmic-horror threat when a call at the Monad Quantum Research Lab goes awry. Whilst there are some typical human threats to be found amongst the chaos, there are also unsettling creatures to deal with that want nothing more than to tear you apart. Using both your previous experience as a soldier and your firefighting skills, you have to find a way to survive the vicious threat and make it through the nightmare.
It’s clear that storytelling took a strong focus when developing Quantum Error, with a LOT of cutscenes on show that try to build up the world and the troubled lore behind it. The problem is that it isn’t executed efficiently, with the game trying to mish-mash so many ideas together that it ends up feeling like a mess. Whilst there are some interesting ideas interwoven within it all, they’re never coherently conveyed in a manner that’ll keep the player invested – instead, you’ll probably spend more time wondering what the heck is going on rather than immersing yourself in the world.
When it comes to the gameplay, I’d like to start with something I quite liked: the firefighting. Given that Jacob is working on the job during the game, players will find themselves using the likes of a claw to pry open doors, a saw to cut through objects, an axe to destroy walls, and even a respirator to keep your oxygen supply up when heading through smoky areas. You have to use your firefighting instincts when exploring too, whether that’s when putting out fires, ensuring there’s no risk of an explosion when opening a doorway by calming the flames, or performing CPR on the NPCs that need your help. As mentioned, the developers have created the game as a tribute to their firefighter father, and it’s clear they took some of his expertise and experience on board when delivering these mechanics.
“Between the uninspired level design, the iffy combat that doesn’t feel like it packs a punch, and the tepid enemy AI, it’s a struggle to find Quantum Error entertaining.”
Are they actually any good? Mostly. Whilst they can be a little clunky in places, I found them to be pretty immersive and cool for the most part. Heck, you’re even expected to blow into the controller when performing CPR, which shows the team have made a conscious effort to embrace the capabilities of the DualSense controller. This is something that’s shown off in other areas of the game’s design too, with haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers cleverly implemented across the board in just about everything you do in Quantum Error.
Unfortunately, that’s where most of my praise for the game ends. Between the uninspired level design, the iffy combat that doesn’t feel like it packs a punch, and the tepid enemy AI, it’s a struggle to find Quantum Error entertaining. That last one is especially frustrating, with the imbalance of AI mind-boggling at times. Enemies always seem to be able to find you no matter where you are in the map, but at the same time, they’ll make themselves easy targets and sometimes won’t even bother attacking you. There’s an emphasis placed on sneaking around and using your tools to your advantage, but when enemies seem to know where you are anyway, it’s hard to feel inspired to be creative in your approach.
Then you have the gunplay, which is unresponsive, awkward, and lacks that satisfying punch, with the game not even recognising my commands on occasions. Sure, there are some cool weapons on offer and plenty of interesting enemies to kill, but combat just feels dull and uninspired. It’s not inherently broken and there are some interesting boss encounters, but there was nothing about combat that ever made me feel that excited to keep playing.
Check out some screenshots down below:
In fairness, whilst these aspects of the game are bad, it didn’t make Quantum Error the worst game I’ve ever played. In fact, it did have its moments where I’d find myself impressed, whilst the occasional puzzle or increase of your stats shows that it does try to implement other ideas to spice up the experience. I don’t think Quantum Error is good, but it does have heart and it’s clear that the developers did try to make a game that’s full of different ideas. They were just a tad too ambitious and didn’t nail the execution, with Quantum Error suffering from one big flaw: it just isn’t very fun to play.
What makes it worse is the fact that there are a lot of technical issues in the game, whether that’s with the player getting stuck in the environment, objects not acting as their supposed to, the HUD not hiding during cutscenes, the weapon wheel sticking and not allowing players to swap their equipment around… the list goes on, with plenty of other oddities occurring during my playtime. Whilst some of these issues could be ignored, others forced a restart, which could be especially frustrating given that the checkpoint system isn’t very generous. Whilst the game isn’t COMPELTELY broken, it’ll need a lot of work to become consistently playable from start to end.
Quantum Error Review
I don’t like the idea of criticising a game so heavily, but Quantum Error is boring to play and has a lot of technical issues that need fixing. It’s clear that the small development team put a lot of heart into the game (and there are moments where it can shine), but a blend of over-ambition, poor design choices, and a lack of polish severely hold it back.
There are some interesting ideas on show (especially with the firefighting) and the experience will be a lot more tolerable if the technical issues are fixed, but Quantum Error just isn’t a good game. Hopefully, TeamKill Media can take some lessons from it, rein in the ambition, and lean on the game’s strengths for future entries in this planned trilogy. But as it stands? It’s a tough title to recommend.
Developer: TeamKill Media
Publisher: TeamKill Media
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed)