Over the years, and with my growing experience with online gaming and interaction, I have slowly begun to notice something. That often the most entertaining and unique games are the ones you never find in the stores. They are independent, somewhat low b>Joe Danger, Bastion, Journey to name a few.
More recently, though, I discovered Warp. I initially passed on it, as many may do, because the premise udget and inexpensive downloads directly from the network. Brain Challenge,
From there, the gamer takes control and it teaches you the basic functions of the game such as movement and structure. The buttons are useless (for now) and ultimately Zero seems harmless, so the scientists continue to torture him and study their findings. Midway through the excursion another-far more powerful-alien of a different species contacts Zero telepathically and guides him through the final obstacle, leading him to his missing disc.
The moment it's in place, the once harmless Zero's powers of teleportation are restored and all hell breaks loose in the facility. Alarms blare, armed soldiers plow out and the hunt is on.
At that point, I wasn't entirely sold. Yes Zero can teleport but it's only a foot, maybe two, in front of him (marked by a tiny orange circle that floats in front of him). However he not only warps through objects, but into them as well-barrels, guns, humans included-adding a very interesting element and establishes itself as quite an interesting puzzle.
Add in the stealth element, and Warp becomes a mix of Vagrant Story and Metal Gear Solid. Roving through the facility requires a combination of brains and patience. Each level is divided into countless rooms, every room closed off from another. Sometimes it's as simple as warping through the wall. Other times it's too thick for the little alien to get through and you have to find another route. Some rooms are guarded by moving, laser-sighted turrets, others by trigger-happy soldiers. Both of which usually fire faster than Zero can teleport to safety. And with such a little alien one bullet will end it, and you can never, ever take anything head on.
So, instead, it becomes a game of patience and tactics-stalking the next room you're set to travel into, waiting for a patrol to pass by so you can learn their patterns. Often they don't tread close enough to warp into directly, and it becomes imperative that you use the objects as well-work your way through inanimate objects to reach the dangerous foe. Once you've warped into them, you have two choices: you can either move on, leaving them temporarily stunned or you can explode them from the inside out and never have to worry about them again. While that may seem somewhat extreme (and kind of gross) the longer the game went on, the more I began to hate the scientists' cruelty and the more I enjoyed blowing them up.
And believe me there were plenty of people to punish. Warp consists of several different floors, each larger than the last. As you make your way through, the game evolves. Eventually Zero's weakness-water-is revealed and in response the military upgrades their defense, from flooding portions of the facility to toting water-based shields that the little alien can't teleport through. The game became far more difficult at that point, but as well more intriguing. Zero's powers also upgrade as he encounters and absorbs the essence of different aliens kept in the underground base. My favorite and the most beneficial was the Echo, which granted Zero the ability to project a hologram of himself. It was able to travel through walls, much further than the teleport and if it encountered anything fatal it simply vanishes, leaving the host unharmed. More often than not it provided a much needed distraction, allowing me to distract a soldier with something harmless, get him to focus on that, turn his back and allow me to warp into his unprotected back. That little power proved far more useful than I ever could have imagined and there are several more to be unlocked in your adventure.
Even with that in mind though, it does seem a tad redundant, and the facility looks basically the same on each floor. There's a fair amount of backtracking to be done, mostly in terms of grubs-basically experience points that allow you to develop your powers even further. Most of them are hidden and can't be accessed until you've upgraded Zero. There's also the low production value, both in the absence of decent cutscenes and one actor doing the voice for over two-dozen scientists. Though, in all fairness, such is to be expected with such a low price tag.
Warp however is well worth the charge. What I imagined to be a cutesy, mindless romp ended up turning into an intricate, rather well thought out puzzler with a very interesting twist. Definitely a must have for anyone seeking a break from the normal, over-saturated titles flooding the market today.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
May I have the strength to lead with compassion. May I have a resolve strong enough to inspire it in others. May my heart be true, my motives virtuous, my spirit valiant. And whether I fail or succeed, may I at least be brave in the attempt.
About the Author: Greg Knoll
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