But without the testing conceit, its tissue-thin narrative falls apart, weak jokes doing nothing to paper over the wide cracks between its abstract challenges and forced setting.
And without Valve's rigorous playtesting, the game falls prey to the classic designer's curse - tunnel vision.
Those moments are still there, just, echoing faintly around the game's threadbare faux-Nickelodeon styling.
Quantum Conundrum's creators can only see the ingenuity of their ideas, and not the layer of mechanical frustration between them and the player.
Those ideas are pretty clever, to be fair, although the set dressing doesn't convince.
It's a more fluid game than Portal with a more experimental play style, stringing together sequences of riddles and challenges rather than constructing those monolithic systems of cause-and-effect that fall into place with one resounding revelation - but at its best, it's still a satisfying mental workout.
That best arrives with the introduction of the brilliant slow dimension, after a regrettably dull first act in which you're limited to changing the weight of objects.