wed 16/10/2019

Gunpoint | reviews, news & interviews

Gunpoint

Gunpoint

Gumshoe stealth puzzling from inside the mind of one man

'Gunpoint': Neo-noir styling meets gripping puzzle gameplay

Just go and buy it and download it right now, OK? Gunpoint is fantastic for so many reasons. But primarily it's fantastic because it plays fantastically. It's easy to lose sight of that fact when you learn the back story behind the game, when it's put in context. But let's not lose sight of this – Gunpoint is great fun to play.

This stealth puzzle game sees your intrepid industrial espionage agent/hat-and-coated gumshoe breaking into a series of side-on buildings to investigate dodgy murders, steal corporate secrets and eavesdrop on intriguing conversations. These buildings are full of armed guards, security cameras and motion detectors.

Luckily, you come with an expanding arsenal of gadgets of your own. From the opening moments of the game you possess a pair of Bullfrog Hypertrousers that let you fall any distance and leap, well, over tall buildings once they're powered up. After those, you soon obtain the ability to rewire electrical circuits in the building, jack into closed circuits and eventually even rewire the guards' guns.

The result is a game that encourages experimentation and seduces with generosity. Each building is a puzzle to be untangled. Rewiring a motion detector a guard regularly walks through to switch the lights off, then rewiring the light switch to open a door in another part of the building etc. There are lots of ways of sneaking into each building, and you're encouraged to tinker with approaches with an autosave system that lets you rewind time if shot by up to 15 seconds.

Gunpoint indie stealth puzzle gamingYou can instantly take back that move that turned out to be duff. And while your progress is ranked, it's not in a way that penalises poorer players. Again, the game offers you puzzles to play your way at your speed, but also offers more advanced players ways of testing themselves – by being faster, quieter, sneakier.

Wrapped around the gameplay is a crackingly complex noir-ish detective story, with some of the wittiest dialogue you'll have seen in games for some time. The result is cheap (it's a mere $10), genuinely engaging and beautifully controlled in the way it ratchets up complexity.

On top of that, Gunpoint stands as one of the many reasons why independent game development is so exciting right now. Instead of hundreds of people creating beautiful visuals but utterly empty, shallow and violent gameplay, Gunpoint is the fevered work of one man – Tom Francis is an games journalist turned developer. He had an idea, he made it, it's great. And that idea is already so successful that he's announced he can now make games as his main job for the foreseeable future. Your money goes direct to support a unique vision, delivered here with aplomb. And Gunpoint is proof that "indie" games can not only deliver great concepts, and great dialogue, but great gameplay – with style that is unique, unlike the factory-farmed mulch produced by most mainstream games publishers currently.

The result is a game that encourages experimentation and seduces with generosity. Each building is a puzzle to be untangled

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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