|Platforms:||PSN (Reviewed), Steam, XBLA|
|Release Date:||March 13, 2012|
|Big Ups:||Great visuals, good humor, only $10|
|Big Downs:||Basic puzzles, frequent loading that takes too long, too easy to put down|
Warp is Trapdoor’s first game which tells the story of an alien escape. A simple concept woven into a puzzle game that has been slapped with an M rating for some brutal violence and language. Sounds like an interesting combination, but how well does it turn out?
I’d say pretty well. You play the adorable alien creature, “Zero”, who has been taken in by scientists and had his powers taken away from him. First off, the game is good looking with great cell-shaded-like style presented in the Unreal Engine. It takes a very old school Zelda-like perspective with a top-down camera style. There are some really ugly blurry textures when the game zooms for cutscenes, but it’s not that often and Zero still looks good which makes up for some of that.
After some basic tutorials, you get your powers back and start warping. This is the most integral part of the gameplay, your warp. You jump a couple feet in front of you. You can warp into people or objects of similar mass, and by twisting around the control stick, you’ll explode out of them. This is especially gruesome when blood splatters over the walls and floor as you blow out of enemy humans or scientists. It’s a little jarring to see your adorable character blow people up in horrifying explosions, but the irony of it all is pretty funny and blowing up scientists never gets old.
Even though your warp is your main power, you get three more powers as you go on which are an echo, which acts as a ghost image distraction, which then leads into you being able to swap places with whatever your echo is touching, and then the finale of a throw ability. Three pretty basic abilities that you would imagine would be stacked on top of each other in complex puzzles, but they really aren’t. I found myself usually sticking to one main ability for any one situation. There are exceptions that require some tight timing, but for the most part you’ll just be using one ability at a time. This becomes dull, really quickly. The puzzles aren’t easy, but they aren’t challenging. You won’t have to worry about brain-strain. I almost never messed up a room more than once. If I died, it was that my hand slipped or I forgot about something for just a split second, not because I was so terribly stuck.
That’s another thing, I died a lot. Not to say this is a bad thing, but there is plenty of trial and error that seems to be encouraged by the very loose and “just have fun” feel of the game. The problem is the game takes a good five to ten second to load up again. With so much trial and error as well as little slip ups that are intensely frequent, I found the time spent loading up my last checkpoint wasted, and sometimes messing up made me just want to stop playing; even though I wasn’t frustrated, I just wasn’t very entertained. Luckily, checkpoints are pretty frequent and I never lost any significant amount of progress unless I was hunting for collectibles.
A big plus in the game is the humor behind it. As I mentioned before, the violence is comical and usually ends up being pretty funny. Another great aspect is the dialogue of the scientists. They have insane lines that caused me to stop and simply laugh out loud. All of them are pretty explicit, so I won’t put any quotes here, but suffice it to say that even though the visuals may be cartoony, the humor is quite adult.
Overall I had a decent time with Warp, but I guess I just expected more from a puzzle game. I went through it in about four hours which seems like a decent length. The game definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome, but I just wish I could have a bit more fun with it in the end. Load times and basic puzzle design aside, you have a good looking game that is reasonably funny which will keep you distracted for a couple hours. Problem is, if you put it down, you probably won’t be coming back for more.
Review written by Alex O’Neill. You can also find him @ALFighter27