Published on June 10th, 2013 | by Michaela Buckley0
Gunpoint Game Review
The explosion of indie games recently has led to some brilliant breakout hits like Fez, while some others seem to go a little under the radar like Monaco.
Gunpoint is one such game and like Monaco, playing Gunpoint is one of the most fun things you can do on a PC without wiping your internet history.
Gunpoint is a 2D side-on stealth puzzle game, with elements of action and platforming.
But without getting too bogged down with genre labelling, the experience of playing Gunpoint is very much an immersive one and you’ll find yourself playing through the entire game after initially only intending to put it on 5 minutes.
The main protagonist is Richard Conway, a 50’s private detective styled secret agent for hire, or as I prefer “Mercenary Spy” who becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving murder and corporate espionage.
On a night when Conway was testing out some high-powered jump boots, a woman from the building next door calls him to talk about a possible assignment involving her company.
Before Conway is able to reach her however, she is murdered.
He soon receives a call from a woman who says that things will be difficult for him if he doesn’t wipe the footage of himself at the building during the time of the murder and so his first mission begins…
The main objective of each mission is to navigate the level and reach the computer terminal and leave the area. There are also some missions with sub-objectives, such as not allow yourself to be observed and also make a pacifist run.
Obviously being a stealth game the biggest obstacle is security, often in the form of guards.
The game implements a “one hit kill” policy and all of the guards possess guns and shoot on-site if you are spotted.
The gameplay initially consists of only being able to move around and jump, Conway’s use of the Bullfrog hypertrousers means he can jump inhumanly high and can land safely from any distance.
Jumps are executed by holding down the left click and dragging the mouse to point the marked trajectory where you wish him to go. Landing from a great height causes noise, which brings the attention of the guards and you can also use the jump to smash through large glass windows.
The showstealing attraction of the game though, is circuitry.
Electronics in the game are connected to circuits and can be manipulated in order to change the situation or gain access to areas. The basic circuit is red, which is the one you can hack without needing to reach any terminals. Using the scroller button, you can change the view onscreen to see all of the currently interactive circuits.
Using the mouse, you can drag the circuit to connect with another, this means when someone interacts with the first object, the second object will activate.
Most of the puzzles revolve around clever use of these circuits and you can do some inventive stuff to aid your game such as knock guards out by opening doors and setting timed events by using the lifts which take time to get to their destinations.
In some levels there are different colour posts, which when activated, allow you to begin manipulating objects on closed circuits of that colour designation, which further increases puzzle complexity.
In between missions there are story segments set up in an instant text messaging format.
Conway sometimes has the option to choose a response, which in some instances, can change the direction of the game.
As Conway played a key part in the incident involving the victim’s death, his assignments from his clients often become dangerously self-implicative and a lot of the wonderful Adventure-styled humour that is apparent throughout the game is derived from assignments he is given in order to discover more about the mysterious man at the scene of the crime, which was himself.
The main problem with the game if any, is its length, at only around 2 hours it was pretty short and also if you wish to pursue the other branches of the story you must clear your data, which is always ominous-feeling.
The story in the game is pretty interesting, however it wasn’t clear from the start that the entire narrative would revolve around this single death, it would have been much more interesting to have some other, uninvolved clientele, even if it meant they were one-offs.
The last loss of potential was in the puzzles, that despite being innovative, were also not incredibly extensive. I know that it’s a bit unfair to compare to something like Portal, but I think it’s important that a game is compared to one of the greats, not only as a source of inspiration, but also as a confirmation of coming so far to be recognisably and relatively comparable, in other words, it’s a bloody compliment.
Portal makes full and complete use of the portal system and puzzle mechanic, it became further complex in the second instalment, Portal 2, also giving the same revolutionary treatment from the first game to the multiplayer option. Portal never left any of its potential untapped. There will never be another game that can do portals better than Portal.
But Gunpoint doesn’t do this. There is so much of its potential left to be explored.
Which is why I love this game.
Weird? Not really, I have NEVER touched a level editor before in my life, I’ve never played with Lego.
But this was the first ever game that I made a level for.
What is really a flaw in the game, for me gave me the incentive to actually create something for once in my life and for that I am extremely grateful. In fact, I have ANOTHER level idea lined up, which I got after seeing some fan levels, which usually leave one feeling so exasperated.
The issue of the length is the main drive for all of the problems in the game, the story and the puzzles could have become more elaborate given more length and time, but for £6 it’s still a bargain.
Brilliant British humour, with touches of 90’s Adventure game pastiche, addictive excitement of the heist and the fun of jumping through walls. Oh, and punching people.
I don’t give review scores, so think of a high number and go buy this game.
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