Did Valve just gift us a new Portal game? Not exactly. But I can confirm that Aperture Desk Job, a free gamelet designed to show off the Steam Deck’s controls, is worth checking out if you’re a huge Portal fan like me. It’s quick, cute, reveals the answer to one of Portal 2’s biggest unanswered questions, and you can download and play it right now for free even if you never plan to touch a Steam Deck.
Not only does the 30-minute, 3.1GB experience work on a standard Windows PC (as long as you’ve got a gamepad; almost any gamepad will do), but you won’t have to jump through hoops to make it run properly. It supports desktop resolutions, high refresh rate monitors, windowed modes, and comes with a readymade control scheme for gamepads like my favored Xbox 360. Just make sure Steam detects your controller before you launch the game.
And without spoiling too much: while there’s no GLaDOS to be seen, J.K. Simmons reprises his role as Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson, one of Valve’s very best characters. There’s a gadget orchestra. And grasshoppers. And toilets galore. Here’s hoping some of them cameo in a Portal 3.
You’ll want to have played Portal 2 to get much out of it, and the controls will certainly make a bunch more sense on the Steam Deck, where it serves as a way to familiarize yourself with gyro aiming, the rear grip buttons, and the touchscreen.
But it also never really dives that deep into the Deck’s controls or opens up a menu to show you how to customize them yourself. So I wouldn’t hesitate to download if you’re a Portal fan and your Deck is more than a few weeks out.