Man, I really wanted to finish Isolated Subject. Stopped on the seventh level, out of what I believe to be a total of twenty. It’s not that I’m too dumb to solve its multiple dimensions-based puzzles, though I suspect the later levels get really tricky once you are warping between four different worlds and juggling multiple super-powers. It’s not because the game is abusing some sort of free-to-play scheme and is only letting you play the first half at no cost and then demanding you pay cash money for the last chunk. No, it’s because I hit a point where I simply couldn’t play it any more due to extreme lag, a real enemy to games involving any sort of precision, and there are some tight jumps to do here, as well as switching between various phases.
Isolated Subject was developed by a user by the name of crneumre and is hosted over at Armor Games, a site I like for introducing me to the Deep Sleep series. In this puzzle platformer, the world is divided up, with each realm living by its own unwritten rules. In one world, you might be able to jump higher, and in the next you can walk on air. The test subject, who looks a bit like a robot alien and is totally okay with being sacrificed for the greater good, must learn these tricks and use them in collaboration to collect white cubes, which allow you to go through the exit doorway to the next level.
Nearly nothing is explained to you other than the basic functions: move with the [A] and [D] keys, with [W] letting you jump; pressing  and  will warp you between the separate realms; lastly, hitting the spacebar loosely connects you to both realms, giving you both powers to use. At least that’s what I think is going on. Again, it’s not clearly explained, probably on purpose, but that doesn’t make it any less intriguing and surprising when you discover you can walk across large gaps or clear out chunks of wall in your way. It’s all about experimenting, and thinking outside the box when even your best shots of experimenting fall flat.
Unfortunately–and I’m not one hundred percent certain whether this has to do with either the game or the browser or maybe even the website, though based on Isolated Subject‘s comments section I’m inclined to believe I’m not in the minority here–the game lags. I don’t understand why, but it is beyond frustrating, especially when you are trying to make a jump. Or simply switch to the other world, but it’s not registering your button presses. I also then ran into a situation where, right before a snippet of lag took action, the game registered me pressing the button to walk to the right, and thus that action became stuck until I reset the entire level. Boo. This was right when things were getting truly interesting, with level seven introducing more than two worlds to explore.
And so I must walk away, never to know if the subject in Isolated Subject ever stops being so isolated. A shame really, as there is some cleverness here to witness, and a good ramp in terms of complexity and difficulty. When it comes to puzzles, graphics can always take a backseat. Perhaps you’ll have better luck than I did. Perhaps the world never hitches for you, constantly rotating, like clockwork, as it should. Maybe some of us are destined to lag, to fall behind, and that this is the universe’s new way to separate the weak from the persistent. Perhaps this is a sign.