“Not Portal 3!”.
If, like me, you’ve been eagerly awaited news of Portal 3 for the last decade and a bit, I’m afraid today is still not your lucky day. Valve does, however, have some hitherto unseen Portal on the way for your tearily grateful playing pleasure in the form of a free interactive tutorial thingy for Steam Deck – titled Aperture Desk Job and launching next week.
Admittedly, “interactive tutorial” sounds neither riveting nor sexy, which is probably why Valve is referring to its new Steam Deck experience as a “free playable short”. But what actually is it?, you may be wondering. Well, in much the same way as Valve returned to the Portal universe for its entirely endearing Steam VR performance test a few years back, Aperture Desk Job is designed to walk Steam Deck owners through their new handheld’s controls and features, “while not being nearly as boring as that sounds.”
“Aperture Desk Job reimagines the been-there-done-that genre of walking simulators and puts them in the lightning-spanked, endorphin-gorged world of sitting still behind things,” explains Valve over on Steam. “You play as an entry-level nobody on their first day at work – your heart full of hope and your legs full of dreams, eager to climb that corporate ladder. But life’s got other plans, and they all involve chairs. “
For those still somehow not convinced Aperture Desk Job isn’t, in fact, Portal 3 in disguise, Valve adds, “Not Portal 3! Lower your expectations. This is not a sequel to Portal. Now get ready to raise them slightly, because it is in the expanded universe of those games. Desk Job puts you squarely in the driver’s seat at Aperture Science. Then quickly removes the driving part and adds a desk in front of the seat.”
Aperture Desk Job will be entirely free (it can also be played with a bog standard controller and PC if you don’t have a Steam Deck) and will be available to download from Tuesday, 1st March.
Steam Deck is, of course, available now for those that joined last year’s queue early enough, and it’s looking like a bit of a good ‘un. Digital Foundry has just shared its thoughts on Valve’s fledging portable gaming PC, calling the device “highly impressive” despite room for improvement. Other words it used include “Cuphead”, “Zephyrus”, and “palm”.