Coming this week to Steam and Xbox Live Indie Games, Gateways is a 2D retro-style platformer that creator David Johnston describes as "like Portal, only better." Those are fighting words, Mr. Johnston.

Right off the bat we can see at least one major difference between this 2012 Dream.Build.Play competition runner-up — it's flat. More than flat, it's all pixelated in that charming retro style that's all the rage with indie developers these days. The 2D retro style lends itself to a fast and smooth gameplay experience. This is good, because who wants to rip holes in the fabric of the universe in a slow and methodical manner?

The lab of an inventor named Ed has gone crazy, his dangerous experiments are roaming free, and you must help him escape using your sharp with, puzzle-solving skills, and the Gateway gun.

Yeah, I thought it shot reasonably-priced computers at first too.

But no, the Gateway gun shoots portals, much like a Portal gun shoots gateways.

Using this not-Portal gun, Ed must traverse the twisted, trap-riddled environs of his lab, hopping on the heads of his enemies and generally screwing with the space continuum.

Also, the time continuum.

Taking that other game's concept a step further, Ed eventually procures upgrades that allow him to change his size by passing through portals and, eventually, walk through time.

I've just gotten started with Gateways, but my head already hurts in that wonderful way it does when it's getting a rare workout.

Gateways will be out September 12 on Steam, Desura and Xbox Live Indie Games, as part of the current Indie Games Uprising. Demos will be available. The fabric of reality will be perforated. The time stream will be violated.

Try it, and then get back to Mr. Johnston on that whole better than Portal thing.