by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
Sometimes a game manages to surprise you in ways you never expected. Perhaps the soundtrack strikes a chord with you, or the characters grow on you as they fight and level up. Maybe there is that one mechanic that you have never seen before, and it feels like a breath of fresh air in a stale genre. But maybe that game doesn’t just surprise you in a few areas: it surpasses and exceeds your expectations in extraordinary ways. It’s a game that you never want to end, and throughout its length it continually evolves and grows into something complex, yet remains refreshingly simple throughout it all. Gunpoint is that game, and I never thought my expectations could be exceeded in such a way until I experienced it.
Gunpoint is a 2D stealth based puzzle game that revolves around Richard Conway, a freelance spy who becomes involved in a corporate espionage plot in a corrupt city. You will guide him through office towers and industrial factories as he pursues the truth at his own pace. Er, if he wants to pursue the truth that is. He may just like getting paid. Either way, the plot is told via text messages between Conway and those who give him missions. There are a few choices along the way that decide who you get missions from, but for the most part it is fairly straightforward.
Regardless of who you choose to work for the gameplay remains the same. In short, you have to break into a building and sneak past guards and alarms in order to hack a computer for your client. The first few levels are pretty simple: Watch guards patrol patterns, look for an opening and rush on by silently. And if that were all Gunpoint consisted of, it would be a pretty mediocre game.
Then the Crosslink is introduced. And everything gets turned on its head.
The Crosslink is a device that allows Conway to hack into any electrical device in a building and reroute it to any other electrical device. For example, you can reroute a lightswitch so that instead of turning a light on and off, it opens a door instead. Or, you can rewire a motion sensor so that it turns off a camera. Or maybe rerouting a hand scanner so it opens a trapdoor that will cause guards to fall through will better suit your needs? It’s an immensely flexible system that allows for a wide variety of solutions to every mission in the game.
I can’t stress enough how much the Crosslink device defines Gunpoint. It’s incredibly simple to use, as every device in the game has two possible functions: It is either on or off. And those two variables also allow for many different layers to be in motion at the same time, allowing for complex actions and plots to unfold with ease. Honestly, it’s been sometime since I’ve played a game has been so easy to use and so much fun to master.
Great humour, engaging and fun gameplay, all the little things.
A bit short, sometimes confusing.