When playing a single-player game, I prefer a “kill everyone, even the chickens” tactic. I will use you until you are no longer beneficial to my mission, and then I destroy you. Needless to say, I had to rethink my strategy for this stealth action game. Running (or warping, for all intensive purposes) into the open within sight of a turret or guard is like signing a death wish. The precision lasers are no joke and you’ll learn soon enough that you can’t just tackle the guards head on.
The opening scene includes a group of scientists in chemical suits digging Zero, your character (in first-person view), up from a pile of rubble. Zero is then transported to a secure government facility, where a couple of scientists commence in an operation to remove an object in the shape of a disc from its body. Once Zero regains consciousness and you complete the tutorial steps, it is contacted through telepathy by another alien that is allegedly being held captive in the same facility along with other fellow aliens. To escape the underwater laboratory, Zero must warp its way through the labyrinth of locked rooms, explosive canisters, and solid walls while avoiding detection.
The top-down view allows for a clearer aspect on the layout of the rooms, hallways, and air ducts that will allow you to properly configure your route to freedom. The generic look of the scientists and guards are bland and anything but unique, but it didn’t bother me quite as much when I discovered I could warp into the humans and have them explode from the inside out. Yeah, you read it correctly.
The satisfying splat of human innards hitting the walls is the sound I most relish in this game. Everything else (which isn’t much) doesn’t even matter.
As soon as Zero absorbs the disc-like object at the end of the tutorial, it gains the power to warp a short distance into open spaces, through walls, into objects, and into living things. When Zero teleports into an object or living creature, it can explode the object or being from the inside out – also known as a Frag. As you progress through the game, Zero will be able to absorb old powers from dead aliens. Such powers include Echo, Swap, and Launch. Upgrades can be bought with Grub energy, purple glowing balls that stick to surfaces. Upgrades will benefit you by allowing you to travel soundlessly, see all Grubs or collectable film canisters on your map, or improve your basic powers. Navigation is simple; the controls are easy to learn.
Zero is less than half the height of the humans in the game and can easily conceal itself behind tables and control panels. Any movements made by Zero emits a sound (unless you purchase the upgrade) that is audible to human ears and causes the guard or scientist to investigate further. All new powers are essential to the puzzle solutions, but the upgrades sweeten the deal.
The puzzles aren’t, by any means, difficult to figure out – this can be a good or bad thing. I have friends that like thinking games where you don’t have to think. Seriously? I need to filter out the company I keep. I’m the type of person that won’t quit until I solve the damn riddle you gave me 5 hours ago. That being said, the puzzles in this game were so easy, I feel like it may have insulted my intelligence. It would be great to have several levels of difficulty, whittling down the available number of solutions until “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.”
Once the game has been completed, the incentive to return for another playthrough is moderately low. The way I see it, the only reason I would want to play it again is if I wanted to improve my time challenges. Once I have solved a puzzle, I’m not one for completing it again; there’s no challenge in that.
For an average of 5-7 hours of gameplay, 10 bucks doesn’t sound like a bad deal – if you’re a fan of puzzles, that is. If you’d rather spend your time marauding terrified villagers or hacking and slashing, it’d be in your best interest to sit this one out.
As far as puzzles go, Warp is a collection of puzzles that are moderately easy to solve. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, these puzzles aren’t for you. I enjoyed turning humans inside out but the puzzles left me feeling anything but accomplished. You’re not really winning if you don’t even have to try.