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Guest Featurama: Gunpoint – Secret Agent Man

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[Promoted from our Community Manager’s inbox, here’s another fantastic Guest Writer! This review comes from Alex Camejo (The Alex). The Alex Camejo is a university student in Florida majoring in Computer Science. Having enjoyed writing as a hobby for most of his life, he has just recently began merging it with his other lifelong hobby, gaming. He spends most of his time studying, working, and going out,  and is an avid League of Legends player with a stream and Youtube Channel.]


*Editor’s note, not Twinfinite’s official review of Gunpoint. Our fans just have very outspoken opinions on games. Do you have something you want to say and have published? Contact Muaz.

At its core, Gunpoint is a 2D puzzle game from Suspicious Developments that relies heavily on stealth action and a bit of platforming. The player assumes the role of a spy that becomes involved with an unrelated company’s conspiracies and troubles and must complete the various missions he is offered to clear his name. Each level is comprised of one or more buildings, usually a few guards of different types, various doors, cameras,switches, and elevators, and finally, the main objective(s) that are typically either a computer to hack or an object to steal. After the player has reached the objective, he must escape the building into the subway on the other side of the level.

"Wait, are you just doing this to see if there are more messages? Because that is among the worst reasons to punch someone in the face 234 times."

“Wait, are you just doing this to see if there are more messages? Because that is among the worst reasons to punch someone in the face 234 times.”

The story is nothing extremely spectacular. It is the mediocre story of a spy that takes on missions from various clients to clear his name and get to the bottom of a company conspiracy after he witnesses a murder. In each interaction with supporting characters, the player communicates via a phone and is able to choose responses to dialogue. From what I’ve seen, the various answers have no real effect on the mission nor the game as a whole, and are merely available to learn a little bit more about the story or to make it more humorous. However, I have heard that some dialogue options lead to in-game achievements, though I’ve yet to see it for myself.

Controls are extremely simple and are picked up effortlessly: The keyboard is used to move left, move right, and interact with the environment (Open door, hack Computer, etc.) while the mouse is used to charge and aim jumps. By holding down the left mouse button, the player charges his jump to increase its height and speed, whilst a simple dotted line reveals the jump’s trajectory. The character is able to climb any and all walls, break through windows if given enough speed, dangle from ceilings, dispatch guards by jumping onto them, pinning them to the ground, and then repeatedly punching them in the face, and, later in the game, he’s able to kick down doors. Furthermore,  one upgrade the player is given a choice to buy later on is a gun with limited ammunition that, when pointed at a guard, will stop him from shooting at you. The controls and movement are smooth enough that the player can pull off exceptionally quick maneuvers with ease and without any sort of buggy controls screwing them over. Sometimes, if the trajectory of the jump is too close to a surface (I.E. When jumping indoors and the trajectory is extremely close to grazing the ceiling), the character will grab onto the surface; however, this bump has extremely few chances of happening and certainly does not infringe upon the rest of the gameplay itself.

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The stealth portion of the game contains the same attention to detail, fun, and challenge as the action portion. Noise and visibility levels factor into whether or not a guard is alerted by your presence, so if the protagonist comes hurdling through a window, it will make a ton of noise and alert just about every guard in the vicinity. Furthermore, a guard will spot the protagonist if the rooms contains a light source and the protagonist is in front of the guard. If there is no light source and the room is dark, the guard will only spot the player if they make too much noise or come very close to the guard. Guard AI isn’t anything too special but, being a 2D platformer, there isn’t a whole lot to expect to begin with. When alerted by either a loud noise or by seeing the player but not being able to kill him, the guard will walk to where they last saw and/or heard the player. They will then pause a moment and begin to pace back and forth in the room they are currently in. Guards are extremely accurate with their weapons, making full-on, frontal assaults nearly impossible to pull off. Later in the game, the player is given the option to purchase a gun. One big con I have with the game is that your gun only has 6 bullets total and cannot be replenished in any way. So, once you’ve used those 6 bullets the gun is almost useless aside from its ability to stop guards from shooting you when you have it pointed at them. After firing a shot, a timer starts counting down from 30 and once it reaches zero, a police sniper arrives and blocks your path into the subway making the level unbeatable from then on.

Finally, the puzzle portion of the gameplay is clever and promising. The player must utilize a tool that allows him to see the “circuits” of various electronics in the building. Furthermore, he is able to switch the circuits around so that they affect different electronics. For example, a switch in the building might start out as “attached” to a light in the same room and activating the switch will turn the light on and off. The player can manipulate the circuit of the switch so that it now opens a locked door on a different floor when the it is activated. It sounds complicated, but it is simply dragging one end of the circuit (represented by a colored line) from the light to the door. As the game progresses, different electronics with different colored circuits that can only interact with electronics of the same color will be introduced. Many levels will begin with only one color circuit available to the player until he is able to place a “wirejack” on a colored terminal, allowing him to now manipulate the circuits of that color. This mechanic opens the door to a wide variety of complex puzzles where the player must manipulate the circuits at hand until he is able to place a wirejack on the colored terminal that will allow him to manipulate the circuits that will grant him access to the objective. The combination of this interesting puzzle mechanic with the stealth and action aspects of the game creates an entertaining mash of genres that are combined so well that none takes away from the other. Sure, the puzzle aspect may slow the game down a little if you become stuck on one  puzzle in particular, but for the most part the puzzles are not overly difficult, but still challenging (Think Portal and Portal 2)

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Rewiring the circuits of the various electronics in the game opens the door to a variety of ways to complete a mission.

Scoring in each level follows a letter grading system from D to A+, with A+ being the highest possible score. Grades are calculated by factoring in 4 criteria : how violent the player was, how much noise the player made, how many times and how long the player was seen, and how long it took to complete a level. Of course, the faster you complete the level raises your grade and keeping your noise and visibility levels low also improves your score. However, with the violence criteria, players who are looking for perfect scores face the additional challenge of figuring out how best to complete the mission without harming guards.

As is typical with level-based platformers, each level presents increasingly new and complex challenges that the player must overcome. One mission might feature guards that cannot be pinned to the ground and must be dealt with in other off-beat ways, and one mission might include multiple buildings that the player must jump between in order to reach his goal. Whatever the case may be, each level is fresh and I never felt as though I was just grinding through the same levels that could be overcome with the same tactics over and over again. My biggest qualm with Gunpoint, however, is that the single player portion is entirely too short. I purchased this game on a whim after seeing some of its fantastic gameplay on Youtube and was disappointed when I realized that the final level was reached a mere 3 hours later. I feel as though a game that costs nearly ten dollars should be longer, especially when one considers that there are free flash games out their with longer completion times, but that’s just me. I certainly do not feel as though I have been robbed, as the fantastic gameplay mechanics were extremely enjoyable and more than made the game worth price. There is also a level editor within the game that is extremely easy to use and allows players to create their own levels using just about every element seen in the single player story. Although, as of writing this review, there is no Steam Workshop for players to submit their level designs to others and download new ones for themselves, I have heard that Workshop support for the game is being discussed, but only rumors exist. If it does come, it will certainly add near endless replayability, as one can never really put a limit on what the internet community can produce when given the correct tools.

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Crashing through a window to tackle an unsuspecting guard will bring out the spy in all of us.

The game’s graphics are smooth and pleasing to the eye. There really isn’t a whole lot to say here other than they aren’t disappointing and they aren’t mind blowing. Sprites are extremely well done and feature polished movement and colors. The audio features crisp, jazzy, film-noir type music that goes along well with the protagonist’s cliche detective trenchcoat and hat. Sounds effects are also very “clean” sounding and are supplied for everything from the “thud” of landing indoors to the rain just outside the building when the player is inside.

Overall, Gunpoint is a refreshing game that combines some of my favorite video game genres and combines them well. While not exactly groundbreaking in any aspect, it doesn’t falter in any either. The cons in the game include the fact that you are only allowed 6 bullets in the entire game without anyway of gaining more. This particular con by itself is effectively overshadowed by the list of pros in the game, especially the variety of ways to complete missions without ever needing the gun. However, the main fault holding this game back is the lack of Steam Workshop support or something like it. Sure, there are bound to be forums spread throughout the internet where people can share their levels, but without an official gathering place such as Workshop or even a forum on the game’s website, it can be difficult to come across the truly well-done gems when one must hunt them down on different sites. Without Workshop, Gunpoint is merely a polished Flash game that is really only worth one playthrough (Two if you want to go back and try to get A+ on the various levels). As I said before, it is still well worth the price, but it could be so much more.

My Rating : 4/5. The game could easily be considered 5/5 with Workshop support, but right now there are only rumors and speculation as to whether or not it will end up happening.


Link to Gunpoint on Steam : http://store.steampowered.com/app/206190/
Link to the game’s official site: http://www.gunpointgame.com/

*Editor’s note, not Twinfinite’s official review of Gunpoint. Our fans just have very outspoken opinions on games. Do you have something you want to say and have published? Contact Muaz.

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