‘Quantum Error’ Video Game Review – A Frustrating Experience on Almost Every Level

Quantum Error is one of the most baffling games I’ve played this year. On one hand it’s very impressive that a dev team of only four people managed to deliver a game of this scale, on the other it has so many design flaws and technical issues that I found myself wondering if this game was even QA tested. Seriously, Quantum Error is such a frustrating experience from top to bottom that I’m having trouble putting into words how highly I cannot recommend it. Even from a curiosity point of view, Quantum Error is flawed in so many fundamental ways that it’s easily one of the worst games I’ve played this year.

So what is Quantum Error? The game tells the story of Captain Jacob Thomas, a mercenary turned firefighter in the futuristic year of 2109. Society is far more advanced and has an over reliance on the use of Artificial Intelligence for day to day functionality. Certain occupations such as fire fighting and EMT services still require the use of flesh and blood humans. When he and his crew are sent to an offshore facility for a search and rescue, things turn into a fight for their lives as strange happenings begin to unfold.

It’s admittedly a topical premise with the debate over the use of AI vs. the use of humans in various forms of work but it soon crumbles into window dressing to hit all the tropes of the survival horror genre. There was potential to explore real world fears and make a truly chilling experience but as it stands, Quantum Error fumbles this premise hard and does little to stand out from other genre counterparts. The story has weak characters and nonsensical storytelling that proves to be a hindrance to the entire experience and little motivation to see it through to the end.

Gameplay doesn’t get much better as the game’s deeper problems begin to peer out from the tutorials. From the opening mission, the shooting mechanics feels very stiff and unintuitive. At times it felt like I could aim and shoot something and my shot would miss not because of my skill but because of the physics of the game. Everything feels off and almost like the shooting mechanics could’ve spent more time in the oven. The main star of the show gameplay wise is the firefighting side of things that will see players use a variety of tools such as the jaws of life, water hoses, an ax, and various crowbars. Quantum Error is at its most interesting when it’s a firefighter simulator. It’s fascinating to me that there’s never been a game to simulate the real life work of a firefighter such as clearing out a room full of smoke before opening a door to avoid a dangerous backdraft, and carrying out a pedestrian while staying close to the floor.

Quantum Error takes these real life situations and tactics and applies them to a video game with a good degree of faithfulness but none of it is fun to play. It’s not fun to fiddle with Quantum Error’s horrendous menus to find the right tool for the job. It’s not fun to question if I have my gas mask on or am crouching due to the lack of basic UI to convey information to the player. It’s not fun to sit at a station swinging a sledgehammer repeatedly to try and hit a target at a precise angle to progress through the tutorial. None of it is fun nor makes for engaging gameplay. 

Things take a turn for the worst when the game remembers that it’s a survival horror game. Over the course of the game Jacob will be put into life or death situations that require him to use stealth and combat; this is the point where Quantum Error falls apart like a tower of Jenga blocks because stealth is straight up broken to the point that every encounter turned into a mad dash to see if I could smack the enemy with a fire ax before they could see me and alert others. I expected Quantum Error to be a cosmic sci-fi horror of some sort but instead what I got was a slasher video game starring me as a crazed lunatic firefighter that would run around chopping heads off as fast as I could.

Visuals are another department where Quantum Error fumbles. The game was one of the first “Next-Generation” horror games announced before the PS5 even came out. Unfortunately the graphics are nothing to write home about and the game often looks like a late PS4 title covered in particle effects to hide all the stiff and lifeless animation and faces. Nothing about this game feels like an evolution. It’s especially funny how in the tutorial the “training” area is nothing but untextured placeholders that are disguised as environmental design. It’s absolutely baffling. While I’m on this point I need to also bring up that the game has zero subtitle options and lacks the ability to turn off a CPR mini-game where you blow into the controller’s microphone. These should be bare minimum accessibility standards and go to show that Quantum Error is lacking in vital functionality.

I do not recommend Quantum Error. It’s a lite firefighter simulator that’s disguised as a survival horror game and is a failure on nearly every level. Yeah it’s impressive that a game of this scale was made by a team of only four people but when you lack basic functionality and UI elements, decently designed encounters, a coherent story, or even some scares, something has gone horribly wrong. Save the 80+ GB hard drive space and avoid Quantum Error.

1 skull out of 5

Review code provided by the publisher.

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